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THE HERITAGE OF INDIA SERIES 



Planned by J. N. FARQUHAR, M.A., D.Litt. (Oxon.), 
D.D. (Aberdeen). 

/The Right Reverend V. S. AZARIAH, LL.D 



Joint 
Editors 



(Cantab.), Bishop of Dornakal. 
E. C. DEWICK, M.A. (Cantab.) 
J. N. C. GANGULY, M.A., (Birmingham), 

Darsan-Sastri. 



Already published. 

The Heart of Buddhism. K. J. SAUNDERS, M.A., D.Litt. (Cantab.) 

A History of Kanarese Literature, 2nd ed. E. P. RICE, B.A. 

The Sarhkhya System, 2nd ed. A. BERRIEDALE KEITH, D.C.L., D.Litt. 

(Oxon.) 

ASoka, 2nd ed. JAMES M. MACPHAIL, M.A., M.D. 
Indian Painting. _2nd ed. Principal PERCY BROWN, Calcutta. 
Psalms of Maratha Saints. NICOL MACNICOL, M.A., D.Litt. 
A History of Hindi Literature. F. E, KEAY, M.A., D.Litt. 
The Karma-MImamsa. A. BERRIEDALE KEITH, D.C.L., D.Litt.(Oxon.) 
Hymns of the Tamil Saivite Saints. F. KINGSBURY, B.A., and G. E. 

PHILLIPS, M.A. 

Rabindranath Tagore. EDWARD THOMPSON, M.A. (Oxon.), Ph.D. 
Hymns from the Rigveda. A. A. MACDONELL, M.A., Ph.D., Hon. 

LL.D. 

Gautama Buddha. K. J. SAUNDERS, M.A., D.Litt. (Cantab.) 
The Coins of India. C. J. BROWN, M.A. 
Poems by Indian Women. ^ MRS. MACNICOL. 
Bengali Religious Lyrics, Sakta. EDWARD THOMPSON, M.A. (Oxon.), 

Ph.D., and A. M. SPENCER. 
Classical Sanskrit Literature, 2nd ed. A. BERRIEDALE KEITH, D.C.L., 

D.Litt. (Oxon.) 
The Music of India. H. A. POPLEY, B.A. 



Subjects proposed and volumes under preparation. 

HISTORY AND THE HERITAGE. 

The Early Period. 

The Gupta Period. 

The Mogul Period. DR. S. K. DATTA, Calcutta. 



11 

THE PHILOSOPHIES. 

An Introduction to Hindu Philosophy. J. N. FARQUHAR and 

Principal JOHN MCKENZIE, Bombay. 
Selections from the Upanishads. M. H. HARRISON, Jaffna. 
The System of the Pali Buddhist Books. Prof. V. LESNY, 

Prague. 

FINE ART AND MUSIC. 

Indian Architecture. 

Indian Sculpture. Dr. Miss S. KRAMRISCH, Calcutta. 

The Minor Arts. Principal PERCY BROWN, Calcutta. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF EMINENT INDIANS. 

Ramanuja. Prof. R. OTTO, Marbury. 
Akbar. 

VERNACULAR LITERATURE. 

The Kurral. H. A. POPLEY, B.A., Madura, and K. T. PAUL, 

B.A., Salem. 

Hymns of the Alvars. J. S. M. HOOPER, M.A., Madras. 
Tulsl_Das's Ramayana in Miniature. G. J. DANN, M.A. 
Bengali Religious Lyrics, Vaishnava. E. THOMPSON, and A. M. 

SPENCER. 
Malayalam Devotional Literature. C. E. ABRAHAM, B.D. 

Serampore. 

HISTORIES OF VERNACULAR LITERATURE. 

Bengali. C. S. PATERSON, M.A., Calcutta. 

Gujarati. 

Marathi. 

TamiK 

Malayalam. T. K. JOSEPH, B.A., L.T., Trivandrum. 

Urdu. T. GRAHAME BAILEY. D.Litt. 

Burmese. Prof. TUNG PE, Rangoon. 

VARIOUS. 

Indian Temple Legends. K. T. PAUL, B.A., 

Indian Astronomy and Chronology. 

The Languages of India. Prof. R. L. TURNER, London. 

The Indian Drama. Prof. M. WINTERNITZ, Prague. 

Prakrit Literature. Principal A. C. WOOLNER, Lahore. 



EDITORIAL PREFACE 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever 
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatso- 
ever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of 
good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be 
any praise, think on these things. 

No section of the population of India can afford to 
neglect her ancient heritage. The treasures of knowledge, 
wisdom, and beauty which are contained in her literature, 
philosophy, art, and regulated life are too precious to be 
lost. Every citizen of India needs to use them, if he is to 
be a cultured modern Indian. This is as true of the Chris- 
tian, the Muslim, the Zoroastrian as of the Hindu. But, 
while the heritage of India has been largely explored by 
scholars, and the results of their toil are laid out for us in 
books, they cannot be said to be really available for the 
ordinary man. The volumes are in most cases expensive, 
and are often technical and difficult. Hence this series of 
cheap books has been planned by a group of Christian men, 
in order that every educated Indian, whether rich or poor, 
may be able to find his way into the treasures of India's 
past. Many Europeans, both in India and elsewhere, will 
doubtless be glad to use the series. 

The utmost care is being taken by the General Editors 
in selecting writers, and in passing manuscripts for the 
press. To every book two tests are rigidly applied : every- 
thing must be scholarly, and everything must be sym- 
pathetic. The purpose is to bring the best out of the ancient 
treasuries, so that it may be known, enjoyed, and used. 



CSlB^h 



THE HERITAGE OF INDIA SERIES 

A HISTORY OF 
TELUGU LITERATURE 

BY 

P. CHENCHIAH, M.L. 

AND 

RAJA M. BHUJANGA RAO BAHADUR 



FOREWORD BY 

THE HONBLE MR. C R. REDDY, M.A. 

VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE ANDHRA UNIVERSITY 




CALCUTTA: THE ASSOCIATION PRESS 
(Y.M.C.A.) 

LONDON: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE 
BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS 



ftS& m I' 



DEDICATION : 
KRISTARPANAM 



FOREWORD 

I HAVE cursorily glanced through the History of Telugu 
Literature by Mr. Chenchiah and Raja Bhujanga Rao, and 
have been much struck by the authors' grasp of the subject 
and broad illuminating views. 

Mr. Rice's book on Kanarese Literature opened what to 
South Indians must have appeared as a new way of treating 
literary histories ; and the present authors have benefited 
to the full by Mr. Rice's example. Doubtless the critical 
student may find in this work occasional omissions, which 
are inevitable in view of the enormous growth of new matter 
as a result of recent events and researches. 

Virasaiva literature is now being reclaimed. And if 
the libraries of the various mutts of His Exalted Highness 
in the Nizam's Dominions are ransacked, it is very likely 
that more books belonging to the same group may be 
discovered, as also perhaps books having a special bearing 
on Buddhism and Jainism. The ruthless manner in which 
Buddhist and Jain literature, in Sanskrit as well as the 
vernaculars, was suppressed and destroyed through the 
Brahminical reaction is the greatest tragedy of Indian culture. 
Today, much of that vast treasure has to be imported from 
Tibetan and Chinese renderings. Though the outlook as 
regards possible finds in our own country is almost blank, 
I am still in hopes of occasional good fortune in this line, if 
a diligent and systematic search is instituted. 

One of the merits of the present work is the histori- 
cal background presented, and the suggestive manner in 
which literature is linked up with the general social and 
political history of the Andhra Desa. Literature is 
life, either in its growth or its decadence ; and unless it is 
correlated with life, it cannot be properly appreciated. 
And literature is, not infrequently, propaganda. Years ago, 
I suggested that the real motive underlying the translation 



6 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

of the Mahdbhdrata into Telugu, with all its pro-Brahmini- 
cal interpolations, was propaganda through the vernaculars, 
as a counterblast to the Buddhist and Jain propaganda, which 
all through was carried through Magadhi and other vernacu- 
lars of India. Indeed, Errapragada, in one of his verses, 
suggests that his illustrious predecessors, Nanniah and 
Tikkanna, undertook the translation of the Mahdbhdrata in 
order to rectify the erroneous views that were widely 
prevalent. These ' erroneous views ' could have been only 
the Jain version of the Mahdbhdrata, popular in the 
Kannacla language, with which in its early days Telugu 
seems to have had a closer relationship than at present, as 
is to be inferred from the fact that a number of Andhras 
were the pioneers in Kannada literature and grammar, 
and that poets of the distinguished rank of Nannechodu 
Nachana Soma, and Narayana Bhat were celebrated 
for their attainments in Kanarese. In Jain_ literature, the 
Mahdbhdrata appears under the name of Arjuna Vijaya. 
It is a frankly secular poem, in which there is hardly any 
trace of the deification of Krishna. 

The kernel of the Mahdbhdrata seems to have been an 
ancient book famous under the name of Jaya. And how 
this simple book Jaya expanded into the encyclopaedia 
of the post-Aranyaka, but pre-Puranic, Aryan civilisation 
has yet to be investigated. When I say 'pre-Puranic/ I 
am not unmindful of still later interpolations, pertaining to 
the worship of Siva and Vishnu, such as the Dasavatdra 
StDtra by Bhishma, interpolated in the Sdnti Parva. 

Similarly, there is a Jain version of the Rdmdyana 
which is very different from the poem of Valmiki. If it is 
further remembered that in the Kathd Sarit Sdgara (' the 
Ocean of Indian Legends ') the stories of the Mahdbhdrata, 
Rdmdyana, and Bhdgavata do not figure prominently, the 
idea must suggest itself to any historical student that here 
is a vast field of research, with a view to find out how and 
when, for what reasons, and with what objects, the legen- 
dary lore of Hindu India developed into its present 
form. 

Unfortunately, this wider field of cultural investigation is 
beyond the scope of the present book, which deals only 



FOREWORD 7 

with Telugu literature. And Telugu literature is to a 
certain extent, though not to such a large extent as hasty 
critics imagine, imitative of Sanskrit. 

A separate history may have to be written on the indi- 
genous elements in Telugu literature, such as the lyrics or 
Patalu, the Yaksha Ganams or village dramas, and the 
great reformer-poets, like Vemana, a star of the first 
magnitude in our firmament, and all those who have given 
expression to the true Telugu spirit and soul. Men of 
genius like Kona Buddha Reddy, the author of the Rdmd- 
yana, which has been spuriously attributed to a mythical 
Ranganatha, were able to Dravidianise the Rdmdyana itself. 

A critical comparison with the poem of Valmiki would 
reveal how deftly and with what consummate art Kona 
Buddha Reddy incorporated South Indian legends into that 
Aryan poem, and with what passion and imagination he 
treated those soul-stirring themes. The story of Sulochana 
and the legend of Ramesvaram, the story of Ravana's Pdtdla 
Homam, and the magnificent manner in which he executes 
the arresting transfiguration of Angada, Mandodari and 
Tara are amongst the instances in point. No mere 
bilingual pandit could have given us Kona Buddha's 
rendering, which is so popular as to have become the 
domestic possession of every family in the Ceded Districts. 

Perhaps there is also a geographical distinction between 
the Telugu literature of the Aryanised ' Circars,' and the 
predominantly Dravidian ' Ceded Districts.' If lists of 
works produced are prepared on a geographical basis, this 
distinction will come into relief. Nor can we omit from the 
catalogue of the books expressive of the true Andhra soul, 
ballads like Palndti Viracharitra, attributed to Srmatha. 

If I may venture on an observation, I rather think that, 
under the influence of a robust nationalism and Bengali 
literature, the Telugu soul is again finding itself in its 
own literature, and expressing itself in its varied moods 
and accents. The number of contemporary men of genius 
seems to be very large, and the varieties of literature 
produced are also large. Simplicity of expression, sincerity 
of emotion, natural figures of speech are again becoming 
the prevalent literary mode, and our literature has emerged 



8 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

from the unnaturalisms and idiosyncracies of the Prabandha 
period, which is the period, generally speaking, of our 
decadence. 

How I wish that some competent scholar, with enough 
sympathy and imagination in him, would write an exhaustive 
history of contemporary literature, of the social drama, the 
lyrics, the narrative poems, the satires, the social and 
psychological novels, the humorous stories, the histories, 
etc., which have been added to our literature within the last 
twenty-five years. 

I welcome the present book as one of the best of its 
kind and, considering how rare that kind is, as a most 
important contribution to the history of Telugu literature. 
I trust that this will encourage further histories being 
attempted, and also histories dealing with special periods or 
special subjects. 

C. R. REDDY. 



PREFACE 

THIS volume is the first attempt in English, and probably 
indeed in any language, to present to the reader a concise 
and continuous history of Telugu literature. It is too 
much to hope that such a book can escape the limitations 
and defects incidental to a first effort. Our object has been 
not only to make a comprehensive inventory of poets and 
their productions and to supply accurate information, but 
also so to reconstruct the past as to enable the reader to 
assess the literary heritage of the Telugu people at its 
true worth. With this object in view, we have given 
concise biographical details of the Telugu poets, critical 
estimates of standard Telugu works, and a general survey 
of Telugu literary tendencies, in their proper historical 
setting. The chapter dealing with contemporary literature 
is of necessity incomplete, but we hope enough has been 
said to show the promise for the future which the intellec- 
tual fennent of the last few decades holds. The views 
expressed in ' Retrospect and Prospect ' are put forward as 
our own, though the approval of a large and rapidly 
growing school of literary men can be claimed for them. 
For dates and authorship, we have on the whole followed 
the lead of Mr. Viresalingam, except where later research 
demanded departure. 

Where obligations are extensive and varied it is invidious 
to particularise. We should like to place on record our 
special indebtedness to Mr. Viresalingam and Mr. Vanguri 
Subba Rao, among authors, and to the Andhra Parishad 
Patrika, and Bharati, among periodicals. Our thanks are 
also due to friends who have read through the book in 
manuscript and offered their valuable suggestions and 
criticisms. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

I. INTRODUCTORY . . . . . . . . . . 13 

II. HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND . . . . 20 

III. THE LIFE OF A POET . . . . . . . . 29 

IV. LITERARY MODES AND FORMS . . . . . . 33 

V. EARLY BEGINNINGS, THE DESI AND THE MARGI . . 37 

VI. PURANA YUGA OR THE AGE OF TRANSLATION .. 41 

VII. THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS (1509-1618) . . 69 

VIII. THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION (1630-1850) . . . . 86 
IX. POPULAR LITERATURE .. .. .. ..97 

X. WOMEN POETS . . . . . . . . . . 102 

XL CHRISTIAN AND MUHAMMADAN POETS . . . . 105 

XIL THE MODERN PERIOD (1850-1925) . . . . . . 108 

XIII. RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT . . . . . . 120 

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 



I 

INTRODUCTORY 

TELUGU is one of the four important languages that are 
spoken in South India, the other three being Tamil, 
Malayalam and Kanarese. According to the Census of 1921, 
the Telugu-speaking people number 23J millions in the 
whole of India, 18 millions of whom inhabit a continuous 
block of territory, 117,000 square miles in extent. A semi- 
circle, drawn with the line joining Rajahmundry and Madras 
as diameter, includes most of the Telugu country. Within 
this area are to be found a considerable number of Muham- 
madans and a sprinkling of naturalised Tamils known as 
Podur Dravidas. In almost every district of South India 
Telugus numbering over many thousands are to be found. 
They are the descendants of the colonists who settled in 
Tamil-land, when that country was ruled by the Telugu 
emperor, Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar, and the deputies 
appointed by him. The Presidency of Bombay, and the 
Native States of Mysore and Hyderabad, contain a Telugu 
population of nearly six millions in all. It is said that 
those who add ' Telang ' to their names in the Bombay 
Presidency are of Telugu extraction. The Telugus are an 
enterprising people and were among the first in India to 
emigrate to countries outside, such as Java ; in recent years 
they have migrated in large numbers to Burma and 
Assam. 

Origins. The origins of a people and their language 
are largely matters of speculation, incapable of certainty. 
Many writers on ethnology hold that the Dravidian races of 
South India were the inhabitants of the country before the 
Aryan invasions and that in race and culture they are un- 
related to the Aryans ; but this theory, so far as the Telugus 

2 



14 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

are concerned, is purely of antiquarian interest. The 
Telugus may have been in the remote past a Dravidian 
people possessing a non-Aryan culture, but they seem to 
have lost their Dravidian identity very early in their history. 
In historical times they were so completely Aryanised in 
religion, language and literature, that for all practical 
purposes they may be treated as Aryans ; although the 
indigenous Dravidian influence continued to make itself felt. 

AndHra Desa the land ot the Andhras. The classic 
and historic name for the people now known as Telugus is 
Andhras, a word which is variously derived, but almost all 
the derivations contain the idea of darkness. It is generally 
believed that the territory originally inhabited by the Andhras 
was a part of Dandakaranya of the Rdmdyana, a dark and in- 
accessible region in the wild forests of South India. In the 
Aitreya Brdhmana, Rdrndyana^ Mahdbhdrata and Skanda 
Purdna, the term is used as referring to a race. In one 
place in the Rdmdyana it has a territorial significance. 
The Bhdgavata states that the country was named after King 
Andhrudu. The early references on the whole make 
' Andhra ' to be the appellation of a race, and we may take it 
that the name was first applied to a people, who in turn im- 
pressed it on the country they lived in, and on the language 
they spoke. 

Andhra Desa was also known as Vengi Desa. It is, 
however, probable that Vengi was a part of the Telugu 
country the part which lay between the Godavari and the 
Krishna. The name ' Trilinga ' was often applied to the 
Telugu country. This may have been used to signify either 
the country which contains the three shrines (lingas), namely, 
those at Kalesvaram, Sri Sailam and Draksha Ratnam, or 
the country between these shrines. The suggestion that 
* Trilinga ' is a contraction for Trikalinga does not 
appear to be sound. For administrative and other purposes 
the country was differently divided at different times. The 
earliest division was into Vishayds ; a later one was into 
Nadus, the modern one being into ' Districts.' As refer- 
ences to Nadus are of frequent occurrence in literature, it 
may be useful to notice the prominent Nadus : 

1. Vengi Nadu, the territory between the Godavari and 



INTRODUCTORY 15 

the Krishna,which was the original homeland of the Telugus, 
with its capital at Rajahmundry. 

2. Muliki Nadu, beginning with the Cuddappah District 
and extending to Mysore. 

3. Pottipi Nadu, from Cuddappah to Pennar. 

4. Renadu and Manadu, Kurnool District. 

5. Palnadu, West of Guntur. 

6. Pdkanadu, the coastal tract from Nellore to Krishna. 

7. Kammanadu, in Guntur District, from Konidena to 
Kammamettu. 

8. Velinadu, in Guntur District, with Chandavolu as 
capital. 

Andhras. Like the Aryans, the Andhras are divided into 
four castes : ' Chatur Varna ' Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas 
and Sudras. The Brahmins fall under two main heads: 
Vaidikis, those who once followed the priestly profession ; 
and Niyogis, the laity. The Kshatriyas among Telugus 
are represented by the Rachavaru. The Sudras are sub- 
divided into Velamas, Reddis, Balijas and Kapus. Beneath 
these there is a large submerged population of Panchamas. 
It is interesting to note that while literary writers are not 
restricted to one class or section of the society, the honour of 
making by far the largest contribution belongs to the 
Niyogis. The Kshatriyas and the Reddis have been 
patrons of art. The Dvijas or Twice-born among Telugus 
follow the Vedic ceremonies and Aryan Samskaras. In 
religion, the Telugus have been, on the whole, staunch 
adherents of Hinduism in its three later variations 
Advaitism ; Sankara's Saivism, including Lingayatism ; and 
Vaishnavism. Jainism and Buddhism, though they have 
gained temporary successes, did not leave any abiding mark 
on the people or their literature. The same may be said 
of Muhammadanism and, in some measure, of Christianity. 

Andtira Bhasha the language of the Andhras. This 
is known as Telugu, or Tenugu (tene = honey, agu = is), 
meaning, sweet as honey. Telugu is numbered among the 
Dravidian languages, of which four are of importance in 
South India, namely, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kana- 
rese. Dr. Caldwell, in his Comparative Grammar, has 
given currency to the theory that they are unrelated to Sans- 



16 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

krit. Sharply opposed to this theory is the view, maintained 
by all Telugu grammarians and Sanskrit philologists, that 
Telugu is Vikriti that is, a language formed by the 
modification of Sanskrit and Prakrit. An analysis of 
the language as it has been for centuries confirms this 
traditional view. Dr. Caldwell's view may be true, 
if applied to the condition of the language at its origin; 
while the traditional view accounts for its present form. 
There are groups of words in the language, which are 
common to Telugu and other Dravidian languages, indicat- 
ing their descent from a common parent in the_remote 
past. It would appear that very early the Andhras 
adopted a form of Prakrit which, in the course of 
development, became the immediate ancestor of Telugu 
and Kanarese, aptly termed Kanarese-Telugu by Dr. 
Caldwell. From this archetype the differentiation into the 
modern Telugu and modern Kanarese must have taken 
place. For this view there is ample justification in the 
vocabulary and the syntax of the language. Telugu 
contains very few original words of its own. Its vocabulary 
is classified by grammarians under five heads : 

1. Tatsamamulu, Sanskrit equivalents. 

2. Tadbhavamulu, Sanskrit derivatives. 

3. Deslyamulu, indigenous words. 

4. Anyamulu, foreign words. 

Many words in Telugu are ' synthetic ' that is, are made 
up of initial letters of Dravidian languages and final letters 
of North Indian tongues. This composite structure 
indicates that people of many races have met, in the 
Godavari-Krishna Delta, under the stress of historic 
circumstances, and were fused into a single community. 
The language, also, was evolved when the racial fusion was 
taking place. 

The Telugu language does not seem to be as ancient as 
Tamil, though it is more ancient than Malayalam, and at 
least of equal antiquity with Kanarese. It is not possible 
to say with any certainty when the language now known as 
Telugu came into vogue. There is no available literature 
before the eleventh century A.D. All the inscriptions before 
this period are either in Prakrit or Sanskrit. The Andhras 



INTRODUCTORY 17 

ruled practically the whole of middle India in the beginning 
of the Christian era. But the information at our disposal 
does not enable us to say whether they used Telugu in any 
form. It is probable that they spoke a form of Prakrit, 
from which Telugu has descended. 

The lack of antiquity in the Telugu language is felt as a 
reproach by some writers, who believe that the greatness of 
a language depends on its age. This has given rise to 
later legends, one of which, tracing the origin of Telugu to 
the fourth quarter of Krita Yuga (the Golden Age), is as 
follows : Agnimitra lost his eyes owing to excessive heat. 
He prayed to the sun-god, who, pleased with his devotion, 
taught him a language so potent that it restored him his 
eyesight. This language was called Andhra B kasha, as it 
dispelled darkness. We are also told that each yuga had 
its particular form of Tejugu and that in Kali Yuga (the 
Present Age), Kalinga Andhra and Raudra Andhra were 
established by Nandivardhana and his disciple, Devala Raya, 
in the reign of Satakarni. 

Andhra Lipi the Telugu script. In its current fonn 
this was stereotyped about the thirteenth century A.D. Palaeo- 
logists have traced the growth of Telugu script from remote 
ancestry. About the fourth century B.C. a type of character 
known as Brdhml Lipi was evolved in Northern India, and 
gradually spread to the southern portion of the continent 
under the name of Dravida Brdhml. This Dravidian 
Brahmi, different in some respects from the Mauryan script 
of Asoka inscriptions, is the common parent of all South 
Indian scripts. It has undergone modifications in different 
places and at different times, of which we may mention a 
few important variations that are in the line of modern 
Telugu script. One modification is found in the Guha 
Sasanas (cave edicts) of the Andhra kings, another in the 
inscriptions of Vengi Desa, the original homeland of the 
Telugus. There is not much difference between the Guha and 
Verigi Lipis. The letters are crooked, though curvilinear. 
In the time of the Chalukya kings we find a further change in 
the characters. It is in the eleventh century A.D. that we find 
the script taking a shape which, to the untrained eye, seems 
to have clear affinity to modern characters ; and Nanniah, the 



18 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

first poet of the Telugu language, wrote in these characters. 
Between A.D. 1000 -1300 Telugu and Kanarese had the same 
script ; but about the time of Tikkanna the Telugu characters 
separated themselves from the Kanarese, and assumed their 
current shapes. A theory is propounded that the letters of 
the Telugu alphabets are all carved out of a circle. This 
view, though not historical, may not be altogether fanciful. 
The beautiful circular final form of the present alphabet is, 
probably, due to the influence of this view. 

Telugu has a complete and scientific system of letters to 
express sounds and is phonetically satisfactory. It has more 
letters than any other Dravidian language, some of them 
specially introduced to express fine shades of difference 
in sounds. We have full zero (Anusvara), half-zero 
(Arthanusvdra) and Visarga to express the various 
shades of nasal sounds. L and L, R and R. are different- 
iated ; we have a CH and JH, which are not represented in 
Sanskrit, and an S, SH, and KSH, not found in Tamil. 
Telugu has made its letters expressive of all the sounds 
it had to deal with, borrowing from Sanskrit, Tamil, and 
Hindustani, when necessary. 

Sources. The sources for the history of Telugu litera- 
ture are : 

1. The Prologues to the Poems. Following the Sanskrit 
model, it is customary for the Telugu poets to give in each 
introduction a genealogy of the writer, the history of 
the king to whom the book is dedicated and of the dynasty 
to which he belongs, the names of the books composed by 
the author, and the names of the important earlier poets in 
chronological order. Valuable historical information can 
be extracted from this source. 

2. Inscriptions. Telugu literature is concerned more 
with local history than with the major movements of Indian 
conquests. It is to the inscriptions that we are indebted 
for detailed information as to the history and chronology of 
the events referred to in the poems. 

3. Grammars and Anthologies. There are several 
grammars, treatises on poetics, and anthologies, which 
give illustrative stanzas from the poets of the day. As 
many as one hundred poets, otherwise unknown, have 



INTRODUCTORY 19 

been recovered from oblivion through references in these 
treatises. 

4. Tradition. Though not of much value as history, 
the importance of tradition for recovering the atmosphere 
and local colour cannot be over-estimated. Tradition also 
embodies a critical impression of the poets, some illuminat- 
ing biographical touches, and a large fund of interesting 
anecdotes. 

5. Lives of Poets, and histories of literature, written in 
the vernacular by authors of ripe scholarship and critical 
acumen, furnish in an intelligible form the net results of 
modern research. 

Periods of Telvigu Literature. The usual division is 
the chronological one, into early, middle and modern epochs. 
This classification is unsatisfactory, as it gives too much 
importance to the decadent period and too little to the 
modern renaissance. A division based on literary modes 
and tendencies is also sometimes adopted. This gives us 
four periods : 

1. The period of translation. 

2. The period of expansion. 

3. The period of abridgement. 

4. The period of imitation. 

If we combine these two classifications, we may divide 
the history of Telugu literature into the following 
periods : 

1. The period of early beginnings. 

2. The period of translations. 

3. The Prabandha period. 

4. The period of decadence. 

5. The modern renaissance ; 

and this classification will be adopted in the following 
pages. 



II 



HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS 
BACKGROUND 

THE Andhras have an ancient and illustrious history, 
though the beginning of the race is clouded in legend 
and mystery. In the Ramayana and Mahdbhdrata they 
are referred to as a primitive tribe, inhabiting the wild and 
inaccessible southern forest, Dandakaranya. The inscrip- 
tions of Asoka mention them as a community on the fringes 
of the empire. _ During the decline and fall of the Maurya 
Dynasty, the Andhra ' protected state ' was among the 
earliest areas to revolt ; and it rapidly grew into a powerful 
independent kingdom, stretching right across the middle of 
India, with its base touching the great Tamil kingdoms in 
the south. There were two great branches of the Andhras ; 
the sovereign, ruling over the eastern territories with his 
capital at Dhanyakataka ; and the heir-apparent, governing 
the western dominions, residing at Paithan. The Andhra 
period was one of considerable prosperity. After a 
duration of four and a half centuries, Andhra dominion 
came to an end about the middle of the third century A.D., 
though it is not known how or why. It is a remarkable 
instance of national loss of memory that Telugu literature 
is silent of the glories of the Andhra Empire. The kings 
and heroes of this period are not celebrated in epic, kdvya 
or song. As far as Telugu literature is concerned, the 
Andhra Empire might as well not have existed at all. The 
only memory of the Andhra kings, dimly echoed in this 
literature, is associated with the seventeenth king of the 
dynasty, who is either the author or Krutipati of 
Saptatatl in Prakrit. Snnatha says that, in the prime 
of his youth, he translated Sdlivdhana Saptasatl, but the 



HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND 21 

book has not come down to us. There is also the tradition 
that a Kanva composed a Telugu grammar, just as Agastya 
is said to have composed the first Tamil grammar. When 
we remember that the Andhras succeeded the Kanva 
Dynasty, we may reasonably conjecture that this Kanva 
was a member of the supplanted dynasty, and that his 
grammar was in Prakrit. 

The Andhras were Buddhists by religion, and it is possible 
that the literature of the day existed in Prakrit, one form 
of which is considered to be the immediate literary 
ancestor of Telugu. The Pallavas, who conquered the 
country, must have exterminated Buddhism and Buddhistic 
literature, of which not a vestige has survived. 

The immediate conquerors of the Andhras were the 
Pallavas, who seem to have risen to power suddenly in the 
south. Starting from Kanchi, their capital, they extended 
their empire northwards till it included Vengi Nadu. Very 
little is known of the Pallavas in general, or of their rule in 
the Andhra country in particular. All that we can be 
certain of is that, after the Andhras, they ruled the country 
from A.D. 230-550 and were in turn ousted by the 
Chalukyas. The early Pallavas were Jains and the country 
adopted the Jain faith. The only fugitive glimpses 
preserved for us of the Jain culture are Atharvana's 
Bharata, (said to have been burnt by Nanniah), the name 
of Padmakavi, and Kavi Janasrayam, a treatise on 
poetics. 

About the middle of the sixth century the Chalukyas, 
a Rajput race from Ayodhya, imposed their power on the 
Deccan tableland. There were two branches of the 
Chalukyas the western, having its capital at Badami ; and 
the eastern at Rajahmundry. We are directly concerned 
with the eastern Chalukyas, who continued to be the rulers 
of Vengi Nadu for nearly six centuries a period during 
which they were engaged in ceaseless warfare with the 
Pallavas, and afterwards with the Cholas on the south, and 
the other branch of the Chalukyas on the west. The con- 
flict with the Cholas was eventually composed by the usual 
expedient of royal marriages. Vimaladitya (A.D. 1005-22), 
the twenty-fifth reigning sovereign of the Eastern Chalukyas, 



22 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

married the daughter of Raja-Raja-Choda. Raja-Raja- 
Narendra and Raja-Raja- Vishnuvardhana, the son and the 
grandson respectively of Vimaladitya, married Chola 
princesses. Thus three generations of royal unions effected 
a coalition of the two great rival kingdoms ; and Kulottanga 
Chola Deva (1063-1112) transferred the capital from Vengi 
to the south. From this time forward Vengi Nadu sank 
into a province, ruled from the south by a deputy. The 
result of the union with the Cholas placed in the hands of 
the Chalukya king, Raja-Raja-Narendra, an empire as 
extensive as that of the Andhras in the second century. 
It also marked an era of peace and prosperity. It was 
in the reign of Raja-Raja-Narendra that Nanniah began the 
translation of the Mahabhdrata into Telugu. 

The early Chalukyas were Jains, but the later Chalukyas 
were champions of Hinduism, and naturally enemies of 
Jainism. The reforms of Sankara dealt a fatal blow to the 
power of Jainism, and by the time of Raja-Raja-Narendra it 
is clear that the conflict had ended in the victory of the 
former. The opening verses of the Mahabhdrata reveal an 
aggressive Hinduism in the act of consolidating its victories 
and taking precautions against possible attacks of the 
enemies in the future. The religious revival intended to 
achieve this end is known as the Vaidikl movement a 
movement which, much to its credit, adopted a spiritual 
means of fortifying the Telugu mind in its faith. While in 
the Kanarese and Tamil countries the conflict had degener- 
ated into mutual persecutions, it was the Vaidikl movement 
that gave a peaceful turn to the struggle, though it cannot 
be said that persecutions were altogether avoided. The 
first effort of the new movement was to guard against the 
possibility of future internecine quarrels between the 
followers of Siva and Vishnu by a judicious compromise. 
The Advaitic background rendered such a reconciliation 
possible. The devotion of the Vaidikls was not directed 
either to Hari or Kara, but to the composite deity, Harihara- 
natha. There is reason to believe that this eclectic cult 
had obtained extensive acceptance at the time. The other 
feature of the movement was to flood the country with 
Aryan culture, and it was in pursuance of this object that 



HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND 23 

extensive translations were systematically undertaken from 
Sanskrit into Telugu. 

The interval between the change of the capital of the 
Chalukya-Chola Kingdom to the south and the establish- 
ment of the Kakatiyas in the Vengi Nadu, presents a 
confused medley of events. _The deputies of Kings Kulo- 
ttanga I and II, known as Andhra-Chodas, seem to have 
carved out small provinces for themselves, and ruled them 
as practically independent sovereigns, with nominal allegiance 
to the Chola kings. One of these had Kandukur, in Nellore 
District, as his capital ; another, Konidena in Guntur ; yet a 
third, Pottipi in Pakanadu. These Andhra-Chodas had no 
touch with the south, except that they cherished the name 
of their ancestors, and kept alive the memories of their 
ancestral homes. Nannechodu (1150-70), son of Balli- 
choda, king of Pottipi Nadu, wrote the recently discovered 
Kumar a Sambhava the first contribution of a naturalised 
southerner to Telugu literature. 

The Kakatiyas of Warangal, who ruled large portions 
of what are now called the Nizam's Dominions, and were 
the feudatories of the Eastern Chalukyas, declared indepen- 
dence and by A.D. 1175 conquered the Telugu province of 
the Chola king. Prataparudra I (1140-96), the most 
celebrated of the Kakatiya rulers, was a patron of letters, 
and himself the author of Nttisdra, a book on politics. 
Palakuriki Somanatha was attached to his court. Buddha 
Razu, the collaborator with Ranganatha in the production 
of Dvipaiha-Ramdyana, was a Samanta or minor 
chief of Prataparudra. Prataparudra was succeeded by his 
brother's son, Ganapati Deva (1199-1257). Manumasiddhi, 
at whose court Tikkanna flourished, was his vassal. 
Ganapati Deva was succeeded^ by his daughter, Rudramma. 
Beddanna, author of Stimati Sataka, was an Andhra Choda 
feudatory chief of her day. Atharvana, the Jain grammarian, 
also belongs to this period. The last king of this dynasty, 
Prataparudra II (1295-1323) was defeated and taken captive 
by the Delhi emperor, Ghiyaz-zid-din, in 1323. Marana 
dedicated his Mdrkandeya Purdna to Naya-ganna Mantri, 
a commander of Prataparudra II. Vydyanatha wrote an 
Alamkara Sastra, by name Pratdpa Rudriya, during this 



reign. Hullaki Bhaskara, the author of Bhaskara Rama- 
yana, dedicated it to Sahinimara, a cavalry officer of the 
king. The early Kakatiyas were Jains, but Pratapa- 
rudra and his descendants were Virasaivas. This faith 
was a * protestant ' reaction against popular Hinduism, and 
was avowedly anti-Brahman, though curiously enough its 
founder was a Telugu Brahman, Basava. It was an 
aggressive propagandist faith, and obtained a considerable 
following among the Telugus. The literature of the twelfth 
century is pronouncedly Virasaiva. Palakuriki Soma- 
natha, the zealous missionary of the creed and a prolific 
writer, has given us the scriptures of Lingayatism, Basava 
Purana, and Panditaradhya Charita. 

Out of the ruins of the Kakatiya kingdom three princi- 
palities arose, which exercised an important influence on 
Telugu literature. 

1. The Reddi Dynasty (A.D. 1328-1427). On the cap- 
ture of Prataparudra II by the Emperor of Delhi, Vema Reddi 
set up a kingdom with Addamki as capital. Yerranna, the 
last of the Kavitraya (the Great Three) 1 dedicated his Hari- 
vamsa to him. On his death, his eldest son, Anapota, 
and after him his second son, Anavema, succeeded to the 
kingdom, and changed the capital to Kondavidu. Kumara- 
giri, son of Anapota, inherited from his uncle a kingdom 
which comprehended Palnadu and Vengi Nadu. He gave to 
his Prime Minister and brother-in-law, Katayavema, the pro- 
vince of Rajahmundry, and made him the representative of 
the Reddi Dynasty in Vengi. After the death of Kumaragiri, 
a grandson of Macha Reddi, brother of Vema Reddi, 
usurped Kondavidu, and ruled as the lord of Palnadu. 
His son, Racha Vema, was the last of this dynasty. 

T/ie Rajahmundry Branch. Katayavema, the recipient 
of the province of Rajahmundry from Kumaragiri, and his 
son, also called Kumaragiri, had to defend their kingdom 
against the aggression of Komiti Vema Reddi, the 
grandson of Macha Reddi, and they were able to repel the 
aggressor through the able help and disinterested services 
of Allada Reddi, who acted as the regent of Kumaragiri dur- 

1 See p. 42. 



HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND 25 

ing his minority. Kumaragiri was succeeded by his sister, 
Anatalli who married Virabhadra Reddi, son of Allada 
Reddi. Pedda Komati Reddi, and his son, Racha Vema, 
and Virabhadra Reddi of Rajahmundry, were all great 
scholars. Srinatha was the court poet attached to all 
these and he commemorates the dynasty in his Palnadu 
Viracharitra, aptly called Reddi Bhdrata. After 1427 
the Reddi kingdom was absorbed into the kingdom of 
Vijayanagar. 

2. Padma Nayaks. The officers of the army of the 
Kakatiya kings carved out petty kingdoms for themselves 
near Warangal. Of these, Sarvajna Simgama Bhupala was 
far-famed for his learning and literary attainments, which 
made him the terror of the poets. We find Srinatha, 
a poet of eminence, uttering a prayer for protection to 
Sarasvati as he entered his council chamber. Bammera 
Potana, the author of the B hag aval a Pur ana, lived in his 
territory and was persecuted because he would not dedicate 
his Bhagavata to him. 

3. Of the three kingdoms which emerged out of the ruins 
of the Kakatiya Empire, that of Vijayanagar (A.D. 1327- 
1565) was destined to play an important role. It was called 
into existence by the imminent danger of annihilation 
with which the Hindu kingdoms were threatened by 
Muhammadan aggression. The first rumblings of the 
Muhammadan invasion were heard in the reign of Alla-ud- 
din Khilji, who sent an incursion into the country south of 
Narmada, which reached as far as Devagiri. The attack 
and fall of Warangal, and the captivity of Prataparudra 
II, brought home to the Andhras the meaning of the new 
menace. The establishment of the Bahmani Kingdom, with 
its capital at Gulbarga, was a challenge which could no 
longer be neglected. The constant pressure, exerted by 
the invader across the border, united the Hindu kingdoms 
under the leadership of Vijayanagar, which attained its 
zenith under Krishnadevaraya and kept the conqueror at 
bay for a good part of the century. The kingdom of 
Vijayanagar was founded by Harihara and Bukka Raya with 
the assistance of their able minister, Vidyaranya Swatni. 
The conflict with the Muhammadan powers went on with 



26 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

varying fortunes, in the course of which Vijayanagar 
(1509-30) was more than once besieged and sacked. 
Krishnadevaraya figures as the memorable king of the 
dynasty. The southern kingdoms submitted to his lordship, 
and he became the emperor of most of Southern India, 
from Vengi Nadu down to the modern Trichinopoly District. 
Krishnadevaraya is known as Andhra Bhoja, for his 
constant support and encouragement to Telugu literature. 
At his court there was a circle of eight poets, called the Ashta- 
Diggajas, who led a new literary movement known as the 
Prabandha movement. Krishnadevaraya was succeeded 
by Achyuta Raya, and in his reign the Hindu kingdom 
began to fall to pieces. After a few years of confusion, 
Rama Raya came to the throne. It was during his reign 
that a trio of great poets, Pingali Suranna, Ramaraja 
Bhushana and Tenali Ramakrishna existed. Rama Raya was 
defeated by the five kings of the Bahmani kingdom in the 
battle of Talikota, A.D. 1565, which marks the downfall of 
Vijayanagar's Empire. Krishnadevaraya was a Vaishna- 
vite, and during his reign and that of his successor, the 
Vaishnavism of Ramanuja was practically the State religion, 
and a constant stream of Vaishnava literature (corres- 
ponding to the Virasaiva literature of Kakatiya's reign) 
was kept up. Krishnadevaraya wrote a prabandha called 
Vishnu Chittiya y celebrating the saints and doctrines of 
Vaishnavism. 

The Bahmani kings, on account of dissensions among 
themselves, were not able to take full advantage of their 
victory. Ultimately they were absorbed into the Moghul 
Empire, during the reign of Aurangzeb, in 1687. After the 
death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Nizam-ul-Mulk founded a 
hereditary dynasty, with Hyderabad as capital, which 
exercised a nominal authority over the entire south. The 
Carnatic was ruled by a deputy of the Nizam, the Nawab of 
the Carnatic. In the south, deputies of the Emperor of 
Vijayanagar declared their independence, and ruled their 
territories practically as their own. Thus Madura, Tanjore 
and Pudukkota became independent sovereign states. As in 
these three territories the deputies were Andhras, we find, 
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, considerable 



HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND 27 

literary activity in Telugu. The literature of the period is 
known as the Southern School of Telugu literature. 

The eighteenth century was marked by the wars between 
the French and the English. An event that has left a deep 
mark on the people and literature of the times is the strug- 
gle between the Marquis de Bussey, one of Dupleix's ablest 
subordinates, and the king of modern Vijayanagar in 1757. 
The story forms the subject-matter of Dittakavi Narayana's 
Rangaraya Charitra, A.D. 1790, a popular version of which 
is still sung by troubadors all through the country. The 
issue of the struggle with the French was that the British 
power was finally established in South India. The Moghul 
Emperor, Shah-Alam, granted them the Dewani of Bengal, 
Behar, Orissa and the Northern Circars in 1764. In 1858, 
the Government of India was vested in the British Crown. 
The latter portion of the nineteenth and the beginning of the 
twentieth century are marked by the absorption of Western 
culture by the Andhras, and the birth of the modern 
renaissance in Telugu literature. 

The position of internal affairs, between the fall of the 
empire of Vijayanagar and the establishment of the British 
dominion, deserves notice, as it is with these conditions that 
Telugu literature is closely associated. The march and 
counter-march of the Muhammadan armies, the struggles of 
the French and the British, did not touch the Telugu poet so 
intimately as the rise and fall of minor principalities. During 
the rule of the Muhammadans and the British, the country 
was divided among Zamindars, some of whom were Reddis 
and others Padmanayaks. These practically held their terri- 
tory under the sovereigns of the day. Of these, the Rajas 
of Vehkatagiri, Bobbili, Pithapur and Vijayanagar deserve 
mention as the special patrons of literature from the 
seventeenth century up to the present time. 

Religious Background. In order to follow the reli- 
gious motive in Telugu literature, it is necessary to have 
a broad idea of the nature of the original faith of the 
Telugus, and the subsequent modifications which it 
underwent. The Supreme Being is regarded as having 
manifested in a Trinity of Power, Creation (Srishti)^ 
Maintenance (Sthiti) and Destruction (Lay a), personified in 



28 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Of these, Brahma has no 
temples and is not worshipped at all. The worship of 
Vishnu and Siva in their personal aspects may be said to 
constitute the basic elements in the faith of Hindus in 
general, and of the Telugus as participating in the general 
Hindu faith. The cults of Siva and Vishnu were carried 
on side by side, without any sense of conflict or animosity. 
It is on this background that the three movements, 
namely, those of Sankara, Basava and Ramanuja, began to 
operate. Sankara's Advaitism, which had obtained general 
acceptance among Brahmans, tended towards impersonalis- 
ing both Siva and Vishnu, and in consequence attenuating 
the personal element. It must, however, be said that on the 
Telugu mind Sankara's philosophy produced rather a some- 
what unexpected effect. It created a tendency towards 
eclecticism, in which Siva and Vishnu are regarded as equal, 
and equally worthy of worship. The Hari-Hara cult, which 
was expressly professed by some of the major poets of the 
first period, not only comprehended in its catholic outlook 
both Siva and Vishnu, but regarded the hyphenated deity 
as a necessary object of worship. In short, it attempted 
to combine two streams of religion which, till then, were 
flowing in separate and parallel lines. This cult held on 
for a time, but proved unsatisfactory to the old followers of 
either cult, and hence we soon find the Lingayat movement 
on one side and the Ramanuja movement on the other, 
exalting with renewed fervour Siva and Vishnu, each as an 
exclusive object of worship. Madhvism, the third great 
religious movement, is a branch of Vaishnavism, and exerts 
very little separately discernible influence. Islam after the 
fall of Vijayanagar and Christianity entered the country as 
religious influences in the eighteenth century, but exercised 
very little influence on literature. 



Ill 

THE LIFE OF A POET 

THE poet in Telugu literature has played many a 
role in his time. In the twilight of society, he was the 
prophet specially endowed with powers of potent blessing 
and cursing. He was respected because he was feared. 
Bhima Kavi curses Kalinga Gangu, and he loses his throne. 
He blesses the widow of Potha Raju with wedded happiness, 
and her dead husband comes back to life. When we next 
get a glimpse of the poet, we find he has shed much of his 
divinity, but has gained in dignity. He is a priest, learned 
in the sastras, and versed in ritual. Kings rise from their 
seats to do him honour. Nanniah illustrates the type. 
The poet has scaled greater heights. He adorns the 
throne. Nannechodu, Peddi Bhupati, Krishnadevaraya 
are royal poets whom a modem caricaturist would 
represent with pen in one hand and sword in the other. 
Descending a step, he may figure as a minister the power 
behind the throne. Tikkanna heads the poets (of whom 
there are not a few) who have added the title ' Amatya ' 
to their names. Srinatha was a courtier basking in royal 
sunshine. He was a pioneer of the peripatetic poets, who 
went from place to place, exhibiting skill and challenging 
rivals. They were of the order of knight-errants, who 
attended tournaments, engaged in combats soldiers of 
fortune in the service of Sarasvati. The poet attained to 
the zenith of his glory in the days of Krishnadevaraya 
as the first citizen and foremost counsellor, honoured and 
respected by the king and the people. Peddana might 
well sit for a portrait of the happy poet. The seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries mark the eclipse of the poet. 
Fallen from his high estate, he has taken refuge with petty 

3 



30 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Poligars. Inspiration deserts him ; he spins endless verses 
and holds the audience by literary acrobacy. 

Krishnadevaraya was a king after a poet's own heart. 
He delighted in the company of poets, and was never so 
happy as when a great poet came to his court. He enjoyed 
a good poem, honoured a true poet, made fun of the proud 
one when the mood was on him, and not infrequently 
himself entered the ring for a literary bout. The king's 
court was a royal academy, which weighed the poet in the 
balance and sent him forth with the imprimatur of approval. 
There, honour, riches, and above all true appreciation, 
awaited the poet. The informal durbars of the literati held 
by the emperor were the paradise of the poet. 

The reward of the poet was honour, fame and the 
gratitude of his readers. He was not only immortal, but 
could confer immortality. Kings knew this well, and hence 
their attachment to him. Many a king lives in our memory 
because a great poet dedicated his poem to him ; otherwise 
he would have been swept into oblivion. The poet did not 
disdain earthly honours. When a king sought the dedi- 
cation of an epic or kavya, he took care to pay the reward 
in advance, lest the poet's enthusiasm should wane. He gave 
him money, silk, musk, rubies, and gold ornaments. Occa- 
sionally, poets of first rank received largesses from the sove- 
reign in the form of endowments. Sometimes the rewards 
took strange shapes. Srinatha speaks of the bath of gold 
he received in the court of Praudha Raya. The poet was 
made to sit in the pearl-hall and dinars and tankas gold 
coins of the day were poured over him. But more than 
money was the honour. It was a proud day for the poet 
when the king delighted to honour him. Krishnadeva- 
raya carried the palanquin of Peddanna, just to show his 
appreciation. It should not be supposed that all poets were 
rich, or that the poet had only to write a poem to be 
endowed with a village. No ; by no means. Poverty was 
the normal badge of the Telugu poet. It is this touch of 
poverty that makes the world of poets akin. Ayyala Raju 
Ramabhadriah, unable to support his family, contemplated 
suicide. Sankusala Nrisirhha had to hawk his poems in 
the open street to pay his landlady. It was a strenuous 



THE LIFE OF A POET 31 

life that the poet had to live. He had to undergo years of 
apprenticeship at his master's feet, then toil at his master- 
piece, and finally effect an entry into the royal presence. 
This was by no means easy. Vested interests had to be 
propitiated and jealousies to be composed. His merit was 
his worst enemy. Atharvana saw his lifework burnt to 
ashes by the jealousy of Nanniah. Sankusala Nrisiiiiha 
had to cool his heels in the corridors of the royal court and 
leave the place in disgust because Peddanna blocked his 
way. The poet's trouble did not end even with his 
entry into the coveted circle of royal poets. He had to be 
vigilant and maintain his position against rivals who chal- 
lenged him and enemies who plotted against him. The 
Telugu poet, like his brethren all the world over, was a 
Bohemian and lived an unconventional life. Srmatha, 
Pinaviriah and Dhurjati were notorious for the riotous life 
they lived in their youth. They were a gay lot. They 
took the sweets and bitters of life as they came, and with 
the same serene composure feasted one day and starved 
the next. Srinatha in the stocks, Peddanna in tears, re- 
mind us of the tragic in the poet's life. 

' Even great Homer nods at times.' Now and then we 
get a vivid glimpse of the poet's struggles. Tikkanna 
struggles for the right word, and his stenographer, a potter,, 
comes to his aid. Potana wanders distraught for lack of a 
suitable phrase and finds his daughter has it before him. 
Pinaviranna stares at his palm leaves in despair. To- 
morrow he has to read his Bharata in the king's assembly, 
yet not a word is written. His lady-love saves him from 
dishonour and disgrace. 

Romance, too, came in the poet's way. The queen, who 
has incurred the displeasure of her lord, seeks his mediation. 
Nandi Timmanna writes his Parijdtdpaharana to settle 
the imperial lovers' quarrel. Nrisimha sells his stanzas in 
the street. The casement opens; the king's daughter 
enquires the price. 'A thousand a line,' cries the poet 
amazed. Money is paid on the spot. The starving poet 
goes back with money in his pocket, praise on his lips, 
and the image of the king's daughter in his heart. 

The poet had his lighter moments too, when he delivered 



32 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

his obiter dicta, in impromptu verse, on men and manners. 
He had his merry time, when he laughed with others and 
allowed others to laugh at him. He enjoyed a joke or a 
pun as much as any schoolboy. We see him poring over 
a ' limerick ' (samasya) with the same devotion with which 
a modern reader wrestles with a crossword puzzle ; and was 
there not among them a ' wag ' Tenali Ramakrishna ? 



IV 
LITERARY MODES AND FORMS 

The Substance of the Literature. The substance of 
Telugu literature is preponderatingly religious. The epics, 
Rdmdyana, Mahabharata, Bhdgavata, and the Purdnas 
are a vast storehouse of national culture from which the 
poets drew their material. The prodigious expenditure of 
time and talents which the translation of the epics involved 
led Srmatha to choose easily manageable portions of the 
epics for treatment. Episodes from the Purdnas^ under 
the name of Akhyana or Khanda, became popular. Of 
these the stories of Nala and Harischandra are easily the 
best favourities. From the sixteenth century onwards, the 
less known episodes from the Purdnas are taken as the 
basis for kavyas. Thus, the fortunes of a single hero 
under the title of Charitra, Vijaya, Vilasa and Abhyudaya 
became a common subject-matter of poetry. In the 
eighteenth century, the canvas contracted still further and 
the marriage of heroes, under the designation of Parinaya 
Kalydna, Vivdha became the order of the day. The 
avowedly religious literature consisted of biographies 
of the founders of religion, compendiums of religious 
teaching (Sara), panegyrics of sacred places (Mahdtmya), 
philosophical treatises and commentaries (Bhdshya) ; 
secular literature occupies a secondary place. The 
sciences, especially astrology, law, grammar, statecraft, 
archery fall under the latter head. Story and song, moral 
aphorisms, devotional psalms, are characteristic features of 
the popular literature. The drama is conspicuous by its 
absence. The Sanskrit Classics were also extensively trans- 
lated. The lyric and the lampoon, though not regarded as 
separate departments, appear now and then. 



34 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The Literary Form. Champu^ a mixture of prose 
and poetry, is all but universal as the vehicle of literary 
expression in verse. Tikkanna composed his Uttara 
Rdmdyana completely in verse, eliminating prose altogether. 
Though this had some vogue, champu continued to be the 
dominant form. In translating epics from Sanskrit, it was 
found necessary, in order to avoid monotony, to use a 
variety of metres. This practice had also the advantage of 
allowing a variety of language to suit the variety of action. 
Varied metres are therefore the general rule. For popular 
literature, however, a single metre is generally chosen. 
Dvipada and Sataka are of this nature. Prose was a later 
discovery and did not come to its own till the eighteenth 
century A.D. But in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries 
the relative proportions of prose and poetry are reversed. 

Authors' Craft. The highest form of composition in 
verse is Praudha Prabandha or Mahd Kdvya. The theory 
of poetics enunciates the essentials for such a composition 
as four in number: (1) Saill (style), (2) Paka (mould), 
(3) Rasa (sentiment), (4) Alamkdra (ornamentation). 

Style. Style is either simple or 'praudha.' The latter 
involves an accumulation of phrases cemented together in 
a complex and difficult way. The words chosen are 
neither soft nor very musical, but dignified (Gambhira), 
sonorous, and majestic. Simple style had no attraction for 
the critics, and ' praudha,' with its complicated structure, was 
the standard aimed at. In style the Telugu writers 
generally hold up the qualities of Madhurya (sweetness), 
Sukumdra (grace and delicacy), symphony, Saurabhya 
(fragrance) as worthy of attainment. In the choice of 
vocabulary, vulgar speech ( Grdmya) is to be avoided. 

Pdka (Mould). Equally important is paka, or mould. 
There are three important pakas : Drdksha (wine), Ndrikela 
(coconut) and Kadali (plantain). Paka relates to the encase- 
ment of idea in language, and the nature and the texture 
of the language employed. Draksha is crystal-clear style, 
where the idea is seen through the transparent medium. 
Nanniah employs this style. Kadali is a little more difficult, 
the soft skin has to be peeled away before you reach the core. 
Tikkanna's style is an example of this mould. Narikela 



LITERARY MODES AND FORMS 35 

is the most difficult style and you have to break the hard rind 
to get at the idea. Vishnu Chittiyam of Krishnadevaraya 
is cast in this paka. 

Rasa, or sentiment, is the soul of poetry ; the sutra 
runs : " Vdkyam Rasathmakam Kdvyam" Of these rasas, 
there are nine: (1) Sringara (love), (2) Hasya (comic), (3) 
Karuna (pathos), (4) Raudhra (horror), (5) Bhaydnaka 
(fear), (6) Blbhatsa (disgust), (7) Vlra (heroic), (8) Adbhuta 
(wonder), (9) Santa (peace). 

Though in a perfect kavya there will be occasion to 
express all the nine rasas, in practice only a few of them 
are employed. In kavya literature, as a matter of fact, 
sringara (love) has crowded out all other rasas. 

Alamkara, or ornamentation. Great attention is paid 
by poets to alamkara. There are Sabdhalamkdras (orna- 
ments of sound), Arthdlamkaras (ornaments of thought), 
Slsha (double entendre) and Yamaka (alliteration) are 
Sabdhalamkaras ; Upamdna (simile) and Utprekshd (hyper- 
bole) are figures of thought. In the construction of kavya, 
descriptions occupy a central place. Cities, seas, mountains, 
seasons, sunrise, moonrise, water, sports, love passages, and 
weddings, all have to be described. In the kavya, as it 
was developed by the Ashtadiggajas of Raya's court, the 
story is merely the framework upon which to hang these 
descriptions. 

The General Form of Kavya. The poet begins with 
a short prayer containing the auspicious initial letter ' ri, J 
and invokes the blessing of God on his undertaking. The 
occasion or circumstances under which the work is under- 
taken (usually the royal command) is next stated. 
Tikkanna mentions the appearance of his favourite deity 
in a dream, suggesting the dedication of B karat a to himself. 
This is copied by later poets, who fondly imagine that their 
effusions interest both gods and men. Poets have dedicated 
their poems either to patrons or deities; the latter are 
considered to be superior to the former. Then follows a 
description of the lineage and achievements of the patron 
and his ancestors, of the poet and his ancestors. From the 
time of Nannechodu (though it is supposed that Tikkanna 
set the fashion), the practice of adding Sastyantamulu 



36 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

a stanza in which each word or phrase ends with the pre- 
position ' to ' grew up. The story then begins, and is relat- 
ed continuously. The subject matter is generally Puranic. 
A slender Puranic basis, which admits room for imagination, 
is preferred to pure invention. Pingali Suranna is the 
first poet to take a purely invented story for his theme. 
Some poets add the praise of good poets and the condem- 
nation of the bad. This gives them an opportunity to 
dilate upon their views of poetic composition. It is usual 
to bow to the Kavitraya before beginning the composi- 
tion. The story is divided into cantos, at the end of each 
of which there is a short subscription containing a formal 
statement that such and such a poet has written the 
prabandha. 




AT the outset of Telugu literature, we are confronted 
with a problem which does not at present admit of a 
final solution. The earliest literary work of which we can 
be certain is Nanniah's translation of the first three cantos 
of the Mahdbharata in A.D. 1020. Nanniah's Bhdrata is a 
classic of the highest order. It is against all principles of 
literary evolution that a 'classic,' so sublime in its con- 
ception, and so faultless in composition, should have emerged 
without antecedent stages of development. So the theory is 
urged, with much cogency and force, that there must have 
existed much pre-Nanniah literature, probably Jain in 
authorship, which was destroyed by those who were 
responsible for the Brahminical reaction known as the 
Vaidiki movement. This theory, towards which the 
modern mind, imbued with notions of growth and continuity 
in literature, naturally inclines, is, however, beset with 
difficulties. The case against it may be stated thus : The 
researches of well-nigh a quarter of a century, in the course 
of which hundreds of Telugu books have been recovered 
from oblivion, have not produced a single work for which an 
earlier date than Nanniah can be assigned. Nannechodu's 
Kumar a Sambhava is now regarded by an increasing number 
of competent critics as post-Nanniah. Nor have the 
labours of epigraphists and palaeologists brought to light any 
Telugu inscription earlier than A.D. 1020. In further 
confirmation of this fact is the persistent tradition that 
Nanniah is the pioneer of Telugu literature and the 
legislator of the Telugu language, ' Vagdnu Sasana.' It is 
very significant that tradition does not retain the memory 



38 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

of any earlier poet. The argument that the earlier Jain 
literature was destroyed by Brahminical jealousy lacks 
historical confirmation ; and, even if true, it is insufficient to 
explain the extinction of an extensive literature without 
leaving any traces behind. In the Tamil country, where 
the conflict between Jainism and Saivism has been far 
more intensive, we find that Jain literature has survived 
all attempts at deliberate destruction. Moreover, fanaticism 
may account for the destruction of books, but not for 
the effacement of the memory of poets. The evidence 
against this theory is not merely negative. We have the 
positive testimony of Ketana that there was no Telugu 
grammar prior to his. Further, a study of the poetry 
of the period between Nanniah and Tikkanna leaves 
the impression that the poets were mastering, with various 
degrees of success, a regulative science recently inaugurated. 
Of lesser probative value are the following facts : (1) that 
Telugu scholars, before the eleventh century, used to go 
to the Kanarese country and write in Kanarese ; and (2) that 
the earliest existing grammars are in Sanskrit, which are 
hardly to be expected if there was in existence any literature 
in Telugu. To crown all, there is reasonable probability 
that the Telugu script in the current form took shape in 
about the eleventh century A.D. Weighty as these considera- 
tions are, we are not driven to choose between a state of 
facts against all canons of literary evolution and a theory 
for which no verification is possible. A clue to a mediatory 
theory is afforded by the existence in Telugu literature of 
two streams ; an earlier one called Desi , and a later one 
called Mdrgl. The indigenous Desi type exists mostly in 
song and sonnets and is independent of Sanskrit. It is 
essentially a rural literature unsuited for elaborate forms of 
composition. The religious revival of the eleventh century 
A.D. necessitated the translation of the major epics from 
Sanskrit for which the resources of the Desi type of literature 
were inadequate. An artificial system had to be manu- 
factured to meet the new contingency. A new grammar, 
a new prosody and a new rhetoric, mostly borrowed from or 
fashioned after the Sanskrit model, had to be forged. It 
was the Telugu-Sanskrit scholars who were expected to 



EARLY BEGINNINGS, THE DEI AND MARGI 39 

lead the new movement, and this explains why the early 
grammars were in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit-Telugu literature 
is thus pre-eminently an artificial system, and hence has 
neither growth nor continuity. There is no natural transition 
from the epic to the kavya. Living things, like trees, have 
origin and growth, a beginning and an end. Artificial 
structures, like pyramids, do not grow but are built. In 
translating from a foreign literature, the elaborate may pre- 
cede the simple, an epic may be translated before a sonnet. 
There is nothing unnatural in the artificial system having its 
origin in Nanniah, or a few decades earlier. This does not 
exclude the existence of any pre-Nanniah literature, but 
only the existence of Telugu-Sanskrit literature before 
Nanniah. We may, on the basis of the foregoing conclu- 
sions, formulate tentatively the following propositions : 

1. That here was originally a literature called Desi, indi- 
genous, and having affinity with the Dravidian rather than 
the Aryan literature. The bulk of pre-Nanniah literature 
was of this type. 

2. That Nanniah was one of the earliest representatives, 
if not the founder, of the Margi literature, which dates from 
the eleventh century. It is unlikely that we shall be able 
to trace Telugu-Sanskrit literature further up than the middle 
of the tenth century. The earlier attempts are represented 
by the two sdsanas, (inscriptions) of Ynddha Malta, and 
Mopur. 

3. That the two currents have run parallel in Telugu 
literature. 

4. That the growing influence of Sanskrit-Telugu 
literature diverted literary efforts to itself, and grew in 
volume and range, imposing its prosody and rhetoric on 
Desi literature. 

The Pre-Nanniah Literature. The Desi, as al- 
ready pointed out, is the native literature of the Telugus. 
It lets us into the world of thoughts and ideas of the 
unsophisticated Telugu mind. In form and context, the 
Desi stands in clear contrast to the Margi literature. The 
latter is essentially court-poetry artificial and complicated 
in structure, and elaborate in technique. The former is 
fundamentally rural in outlook, simple in its structure and 



40 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

sentiment, and natural and graceful in 'expression. The 
verse rarely exceeded seven or eight lines ; the metre is 
built on a syllabic basis and not on mdtra or tone values 
of Sanskrit prosody; Yati and Prasa 1 are observed, in 
common with other Dravidian languages. Vemana's 
quartets and dvipada, from which Nanniah in all probability 
composed his Taruvoja, Akkaras and Sisam represent 
the higher reaches of Desi metrical art. It consisted of 
song, sonnet and story, and never rose to the complexity of 
a kavya or epic. It may be characterised as the poetry of 
the simple mind in vital touch with nature, expressing itself 
in sharp, brisk lines touched with colour and animation. 

What did it deal with ? It dealt mostly with the 
domestic life of the cottage and the communal life of the 
village. Kings, palaces and wars were beyond its range. 
The maids at the well, the mother at the cradle, the lovers 
in the moonlight, the labourer in the field, and the local 
hero of the tribal wars were some of its themes. We may 
classify this literature under the following heads : 

1. Songs of the Cradle (Lali-Patalu}. 

2. Songs of the Dawn (Melu Kolufalu). 

3. Songs of Festivity (Mangala Haratulu). 

4. Songs of Love (Zavallln). 

5. Songs of Devotion (Kirtanas). 

6. Songs of the Harvest (Udupu Patalu). 

7. Songs of the Teamster ( Kuli Pafalu). 

8. Songs of Wine (Kalln Pdtahi). 

9. Songs of Play (Ata Patalu). 

10. Proverbs (Samitelu). 

11. Stories (Kathalu). 

12. Sagas of Local Chiefs (Ballads). 

In these we have Telugu poetry in its purest strain not 
the hybrid Sanskrit collations of post-Nanniah literature. 
This is a literature racy of the soil, and full of lyrics of 
intense realism and concentrated power. 

1 The central and the vertical rhymes. 



VI 

PURANA YUGA, OR THE AGE OF 
TRANSLATION 

The first stage in the development of Telugu litera- 
ture a period covering five centuries is marked by 
the introduction and extension of Sanskrit culture, mainly 
through translations. The impulse for translation had its 
origin in the revival of Brahminism and the zeal to spread 
the Vaidiki movement, which it originated. This religious 
movement had the support of the kings, the approbation of 
the literati, and above all the sympathy of the people. 
The long-drawn struggle between Jainism and Hinduism 
had ended in the victory of Brahminism and the triumph 
of the worship of Siva in the Tamil and Kanarese countries. 
That this triumph of Hinduism spread its contagious 
spiritual impetus to the Andhra-land hardly admits of 
doubt. The victory of Hinduism, now assured beyond 
dispute by the decay of Jainism, had to be consolidated and 
the hearts of the people rendered immune to the possible 
renewal of assaults by the vanquished faiths. The opening 
of the flood-gates of Sanskrit culture was the final act of 
insurance against relapse in the future. This explains why, 
in Telugu literature, translations mark the initial, and not, 
as in other Dravidian vernaculars, the later, stage. This 
also accounts for the preponderatingly religious character 
and the extensive range of the translations. 

The Aryan religion in its popular and non-philosophical 
form is embodied in three classics : the Mahabharata, 
known as the ', fifth Veda' 1 ; the Rdmdyana, the story of 
Rama ; and the Bhdgavata Parana, the story of Krishna. 

1 Often referred to simply as the Bharata. 



42 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The solid achievement of this period is the translation of 
all these three epics into Telugu. 

The Translation of the Mahabharata. This colossal 
undertaking, rendered all the more onerous and sacred by 
the circumstances which made the translation necessary, 
took three centuries to accomplish. It was begun by 
Nanniah in the eleventh century A.D., continued by 
Tikkanna in the thirteenth century A.D., and concluded 
by Errapragada in the fourteenth. A grateful posterity 
enthroned them together in its memory and crowned them 
with the title ' Kavitraya ' the Great Three. No sub- 
sequent poet, down to our times, ever attempted to invoke 
the muse without paying his tribute to the three great 
masters. 

Nanniah (Title/ Vaganu Sasana'). Nanniah, who began 
the translation of the Mahabharata at the command of 
the Chalukya king, Raja-Raja-Narendra (1022-63), was a 
Vaidiki Brahmin of Mugdala Gotra, from Tanuku, in 
Vengi Nadu. He was the family purohit or priest of 
the reigning monarch, and had a reputation for great 
piety and scholarship in Sanskrit. He relates, in the 
prologue, the circumstances under which his royal master 
desired him to translate the epic. Raja-Raja-Narendra, 
like many monarchs of his day, claimed to be a descendant 
of the lunar kings, whose progenitors, the Pandavas, 
are celebrated in the Mahabharata. He was fond 
of hearing the epic and emulating its heroes. Having 
heard the story in many languages, probably in Tamil and 
Kanarese, he was desirous to perpetuate it in the language 
of the country of which he was the ruler. There was no 
man of his day better qualified, by his learning and piety, 
for this task than Nanniah ; so it was entrusted to him. 
He composed the Adi and Sabha cantos, and a portion 
of the Aranya Parva. Various stories are told to account 
for the non-completion of this canto. One story is that 
Atharvana wrote a Bhdrata and showed it to Nanniah 
before he took it to the king. Nanniah, fearing that, if 
Atharvana 's superior composition reached the king, his own 
might not be accepted, set fire to the house in which Athar- 
vana's manuscript was deposited. Atharvana, seeing his 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 43 

labour of years reduced to ashes, cursed Nanniah and he 
became mad. But as Nanniah and Atharvana were not 
contemporaries the story is not worthy of credence. There 
is also the fact that stanzas from Atharvana's Bhdrata are 
given in later anthologies. Five other books are attributed 
to Nanniah, namely : (1) Andhra Sabda Chintdmani* 
otherwise known as Prakriyakaumudl ; (2) Lakshana 
Sara ; (3) Indra Vijaya ; (4) Chdmundl Vildsa ; and 
(5) Rdghavdbhyudaya. But, in all probability, none of 
these were written by him. As Chamundi was the titular 
deity of the Chalukyas, it is possible that he wrote Chamundi 
Vildsa ; but the existing work differs so much in style 
from Nanniah's that we may well doubt his authorship 
of it. 

Nanniah's style is in Draksha Paka, 1 simple, sweet and 
graceful. Language delicately responds to emotion and 
gracefully adjusts itself to the changing action of the story r 
and to the varying moods of the actors. The poet employs 
a variety of metres suitable to the wide range of passions 
and events so characteristic of the epic. Though a transla- 
tion, the Telugu Bharata is really an independent work 
of art, superior to the original in many respects. Nanniah 
wrote the Bhdrata in 'Champu.' 2 His prose is of two 
varieties, one simple and the other more complicated, but 
always less artificial and cumbrous than the stilted 
stateliness of kavya prose. In his vocabulary, he employs 
two-thirds Sanskrit and one-third Telugu words. Jak- 
kanna, a later poet, characterises his poetry as ' Rasa- 
bandhura Bhdvdbhi Rdmamu ' ' beautiful ideas in bright 
emotional setting.' Nanniah began his epic with a Sanskrit 
sloka of praise. His example was copied by Ranganatha 
and others, till Tikkanna set a new fashion. 

Narayana Bhat. A contemporary of Nanniah, Nar ay- 
ana Bhat deserves mention, if for no other reason than for 
the praise which he has received from Nanniah. He says, 
' Just as Krishna assisted Arjuna in the great war, Narayana 
Bhat helped me in my labours. ' It is not clear what exactly 
were the nature of the services which Narayana Bhat ren- 

1 See above p. 34. 2 Ibid. 



44 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

dered to Nanniah. It is suggested that he really composed 
the major portion of the Bharata, now wrongly attributed 
to Nanniah. This is unlikely, because if Narayana Bhat 
had been a poet of equal eminence with Nanniah he would 
have continued the translation of the Bharata ; unless it 
be that he pre-deceased Nanniah ,for which we have no 
evidence. Nor do the first three cantos manifest any signs 
of a joint composition. It is more likely that Narayana 
Bhat helped Nanniah in his efforts to inaugurate the Vaidiki 
movement, as Sri Krishna helped Arjuna to establish 
Dharma. It is possible also that Nanniah was engaged 
in a conflict with the Jains on the one hand and the orthodox 
reactionaries,who opposed the translation of sacred literature, 
on the other. Though no work of his has survived, 
Narayana Bhat was evidently a poet of eminence. He was 
well versed, as stated in the Nandimapudi inscription, in 
Sanskrit, Karnataka, Prakrit, Paisachika. As a reward for 
his learning the emperor made him the gift of the village of 
Nandimapudi. He is said to have defeated many a proud 
poet and earned the title Kavibhava Vajrdnkusa (The 
Terror of Rival Poets). 

Tikkanna Yagvi (A.D, 1220-1300. Title ' Kavi 
Brahma '). For nearly two centuries the Bharata was where 
Nanniah left it, till a great poet, worthy to continue it, came 
into the literary world in the person of Tikkanna. The 
reasons for the long delay in the emergence of a competent 
poet were many. There was a school of obscurantists who 
regarded the translation and the consequent publication of 
Bharata to the world as sinful, especially because it was 
regarded as the fifth Veda, the reading and hearing of 
which is prohibited to non-Brahmins. The madness which 
befell Nanniah, who set at naught this theological injunc- 
tion, strengthened the superstition that those who touch the 
Aranya Parva would come to grief. But, above all these 
fears, there was the natural reluctance on the part of poets 
to challenge comparison with Nanniah by continuing his 
work. Nanniah was a poet much in advance of his age, 
and the art of composition which he evolved was a science 
which few had yet mastered. It was, therefore, natural that, 
in spite of the efforts of rulers, few ventured to come 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 45 

forward to undertake the task. Tradition, which regards 
Nanniah and Tikkanna as contemporaries, has an interesting 
story to relate, which, though not of any historical value, 
throws much light on the difficulties which the rulers, with 
all their wealth and influence, had to face in inducing 
competent poets to continue the translation of the Bkdrata. 
With a view to discover whether a poet of Nanniah's 
eminence would be forthcoming, Raja-Raja-Narendra caused 
to be circulated a stanza, considered to be Nanniah's best, 
throughout his realm, with a request that other poets should 
compose a similar stanza embodying the same idea. 
Various attempts were made, but all of them were rejected 
by the king's council of pandits as below the mark. But 
there was one poet who simply copied the stanza and 
coloured it red and sent it to the king. The council 
construed the act of the poet as an announcement that 
he could not only compose like Nanniah, but even excel 
him, by adding a new lustre to his composition. Enquiries 
showed that the poet's was no empty boast and that his 
learning was equal to the task set to him. The emperor 
commanded the feudatory chief, in whose jurisdiction the 
poet lived, to send him to the imperial presence. The order 
was sooner given than obeyed ; for the poet refused to leave 
his native place, in spite of persuasion and promise of 
tempting rewards. The chieftain, vexed at the obduracy 
of the poet, threatened him with punishment, and swore 
that if he did not go to the emperor, he would have him 
shaved, led through the street in procession on a donkey, 
would make him live outside the city in a hut, and disgrace 
him by forcing him to eat flesh. Threats proved as un- 
availing as promises of gifts. The emperor, anxious 
that the translation of the Bharata should begin at once, was 
willing to allow him to remain in his native place if only he 
would commence the work. The local chief was placed in 
a dilemma by the condescension of the emperor, between 
keeping to his threats and reconciling himself to the poet. 
The expedient he struck upon was to request the poet to 
perform Yajna a purificatory sacrifice, in the course of 
which, according to the prescribed ritual, he had to shave 
himself, live outside the city and eat flesh. The poet who 

4 



46 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

caused so much embarrassment to his chieftain was none 
other than Tikkanna. 

Tikkanna was a Niyogi Brahmin attached to the court 
of Manumasiddhi, the ruler of Nellore, a tributary chief 
under the Kakatiya king, Ganapati Deva. He came from 
a family illustrious in the annals of the district, as having 
given to the country warriors of renown and poets of repute. 
The Kottaruvu family, to which the poet belonged, came 
originally from Vellaturu in the Krishna District, and settled 
in Guntur. His grandfather, Bhaskara, was a poet of 
eminence and is reputed to have written a Telugu 
Ramayana which is lost. His father, Kommanna, was the 
head of the army of the local chief in Guntur. His * second 
cousin,' Khadga Tikkanna, or ' Tikkanna of the Sword/ 
more than once saved his master by his valour on the 
battlefield. Tikkana, on account of his family influence, was 
more of a minister than a mere poet, honoured by his 
master and treated by him as his equal. On one occasion, 
when his master was driven out of his country by his 
relatives, Akkana and Bayyana, Tikkanna was entrusted with 
the mission of securing for him the good offices of Kakatiya 
Ganapati ; and it was to Tikkanna that Manuma owed his 
reinstatement. 

Before Tikkanna began the translation of the Bhdrata 
he composed Nirvachanottara Ramayana, an all-verse 
composition relating the story of Rama after his coronation, 
and describing his reign, his conquests and his death. It 
will be remembered that Nanniah wrote in Champu. 
Tikkanna seems to have thought the all-verse composition 
very difficult of attainment. For some reason or other he 
did not finish the last canto, but Jayanti Ramabhut 
completed it later on. It is said that Tikkanna was the 
author of Vijaya Sena, and a treatise on prosody called 
Kavi-Vakbandhana, but of this we cannot be sure, as these 
works are not available. 

The poet's title to fame rests on his translation of the 
Bhdrata. Afraid of beginning where Nanniah had left 
the story, that is, from the middle of the Aranya Parva, 
lest some evil should befall him, Tikkanna commenced with 
the Virata Parva, and finished the remaining fifteen cantos. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 47 

Many interesting stories are told to illustrate his 
extraordinary learning and unfailing inspiration. He 
undertook to dictate his verses in open court, without 
referring to the Sanskrit original, and made a vow that 
if ever he hesitated for a word he would cut off his tongue. 
Tikkanna composed so quickly that it was difficult to 
get anyone who could take down what he delivered, till 
at last a competent amanuensis was found, at the suggestion 
of the poet himself, in one Kumara Gurunatha, a potter 
by caste, who was not only an expert stenographer, but a 
pandit of some attainment, as the sequel showed. It was 
under these interesting conditions that the translation 
proceeded, much to the wonder of the pandits, who were 
astonished at the unbroken flow of verse. Once, and once 
only, did Tikkanna hesitate for the right word, and as the 
right word did not come he gave up the effort and exclaimed, 
' What shall I say, Gurunatha ? ' The poet was disconsolate ; 
but the amanuensis was equal to the occasion and finished 
the stanza with the very words which Tikkanna uttered in 
despair, and which, by a strange coincidence, exactly fitted 
the context, as an exclamation to the Kurunatha (Lord of 
Kurus). When this was pointed out, Tikkanna's joy knew 
no bounds, and he was all praise for the potter. This 
story, though probably apocryphal, illustrates the popular 
estimate of the poet's incomparable versatility. Another 
story, related in this connection, is that the pandits of the 
court, who observed that Tikkanna used common metres 
and simple style, began to murmur that he knew no better. 
Indignant at this insult, he composed Sauptika, and Strt 
Parvas in such difficult metres and Sanskrit compounds 
that it was beyond the comprehension of his erstwhile critics^ 
who, chastened, implored him to return to his original style. 
Tikkanna, in his prologue, shows considerable originality,, 
and gave currency to certain conventions which were 
copied by others. He began with a condemnation of 
incompetent poets and a praise of the competent ones. 
This was necessitated by the literary conditions of the 
day, when many poets sought recognition who paid little 
attention to technique and composition. The second 
feature is the introductory dream, in which his grandfather 



48 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

appeared and delivered him a message from Harihara Natha, 
that he should dedicate the Bhdrata to him. The third 
is a hymn of praise, with every word ending in the possessive 
case (sastya?itamnlu). Later poets have mechanically copied 
these features. 

The qualities of style which procured Tikkanna the title 
of * Kavi Brahma ' are twofold. The first is his conciseness 
of diction. He always studied economy in the use of words. 
It is difficult to alter a single word of his compact phrases 
without seriously impairing their value and richness of 
meaning. He was a very conscientious stylist and spared 
no pains in refining his verse. The second quality is his 
realism. Unlike the Prabandha poets, whose ' characters ' 
move like puppets cleverly manipulated, Tikkanna inspires 
his heroes with life. At his touch the past springs up into 
life. The dead cities awake once more and the streets 
throng with busy crowds. Ancient palaces become alive 
with kings, courtiers and courtesans. The famous battle- 
fields echo to the tread of warriors, the rumbling of chariots 
and the cries of combatants. The poet attained the height 
of his art in Virata Parva. 

Errapragada (A.D. 1280-1350. Title, ' garhbhudasa ' 
or ' Prabandha Paramesvara '). Fifty years after Tikkanna, 
Errapragada completed the portion of the Aranya Parva 
still remaining unfinished. So potent was the belief that 
the poet who touches this Parva would come to grief, that 
Sambhudasa made it appear that it was Nanniah who 
completed it, by dedicating it to Raja-Raja-Narendra. Erra- 
pragada was a Niyogi from Gudluru in Kandukur Taluk, 
Nellore District, and was attached to Proliah Vema Reddy, 
the ruler of the district. He says in HarivamSa 
his second work that his father, Sri Surya, was a poet in 
two languages and a yogi who became a siddha. He relates 
how Tikkanna appeared to him in a dream and encouraged 
him to complete the Bhdrata. Not satisfied with his 
contribution to the Bhdrata, he began Harivamsa, which 
is in the nature of an epilogue to the Bhdrata, and traces 
the fortunes of the heroes of the epic after the fateful war. 
Other poems attributed to him are, Rdmdyana, Lakshml 
Nrtsimha Purdna, known also as Ahobala Mahdtmya. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 49 

Errapragada is a staunch Saivite, a disciple of a yogi, 
Sankaraswami. In points of literary merit he is worthy of 
being ranked with Nanniah and Tikkanna. His ability as 
a poet is manifest from the fact that he begins his work in 
the style of Nanniah and, imperceptibly, passes into that of 
Tikkanna. He was able to simulate them so well that the 
reader does not, till he is told, realise that between Nanniah 
and Tikkanna a third poet had intervened. His control 
of language and his variety of style are remarkable. His 
style is more difficult than that of Nanniah and Tikkanna. 
He writes in Kadali Paka. 1 His devotion has earned him the 
title of ' Sambhudasa ' (Servant of Siva), and his command 
of versification the title of ' Prabandha Paramesvara ' (Lord 
of the Verse). Srinatha admires his felicitous combination 
of phrases (Sukti Vaichitrl). He uses Sanskrit and Telugu 
words in equal proportions. 

Bharata Translators. In order to complete the story 
of the translation of the Bharata we have had to 
anticipate two centuries. We will now return to the 
chronological order. Before doing so, we may make 
a few general remarks about other translators of the 
Bharata, which, like its sister epic, the Ramayana, has 
been variously interpreted. The Brahminical version, 
which is also the widely accepted and popular one, regards 
the hero, Krishna, as a divine incarnation, and the whole 
story as having the sanctity of a supplementary Veda. 
The Jains, who renounced the theological system of the 
Brahmins, gave currency to a version in which all the 
heroes are regarded as merely Karana Purushas men 
of destiny sent into this world to fulfil a special mission. 
It is probable that Atharvana's Bharata, which Nanniah 
is said to have suppressed, is a Jaina Bharata ; and it 
is all the more likely that it was so, as the author was a 
Jain by faith. Jaimini gave a slightly different version of 
the story, known as Jaimini Bharata, which only deals 
with the portion of Bharata relating to the Asvamedha 
Ydja of Yudhishthira, and differs in many details from the 

1 See above p. 34. 



50 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Sanskrit original. This has been translated by Pillala Marri 
Pinavira Bhadriah in the fifteenth century A.D. The epic 
is continued under the name of Harivamsa, which relates 
the fortunes of Krishna after the war. Errapragada 
translated it into Telugu, and Nachana Soma versified 
a portion of the story, under the name Uttara Harivamsa, 
in 1380. There are any number of prose versions of the 
story written by recent authors. 

Eleventh Century Poets. The eleventh and twelfth 
centuries are terra incognita in Telugu literary history. 
The literature of the time is being slowly recovered by the 
indefatigable energy of research scholars. We are sure, 
from the references in subsequent poems, that these 
centuries must have been most fertile, and yet tradition 
has transmitted to us the names and works of only a few 
of the poets. The dominant poet of the eleventh century 
is (as we have said) Nanniah, whose translation of the 
Bharata inaugurates the era of translations. There is 
only one other poet, who, though not his contemporary, yet 
belongs to his century, and his name is Pavaluri Mallanna 
(1060-70), a Niyogi Brahmin and the karnam (accountant) 
of the village Pavalur, near Guntur in Kamma Nadu. He 
translated into verse a mathematical treatise of Mahavir- 
acharyalu in Sanskrit. The author follows Nanniah's 
example of placing a Sanskrit sloka at the beginning of his 
book an example not generally followed by the poets after 
him. Though the Sutras are taken from the Sanskrit 
original, the mathematical calculations are his own. In 
Sanskrit literature the names of Brahmagupta, Viracharya, 
Bhaskaracharya and Jagannatha stand out as eminent 
mathematicians. Of these, Viracharya's treatise has been 
translated into Telugu by Mallana, and into Kanarese by 
Rajaditya in the same century. Eluganti Peddanna 
translated Lilavatl by Bhaskaracharya under the name 
of Praklrna Ganita. There is a Sutra Ganita, com- 
posed, during the reign of Prataparudra, by an unknown 
author. 

Maha Viracharya's book contains chapters on mensuration, 
the measurement of shadows, proper and mixed fractions 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 51 

and the theory of numbers. It is natural that the author, 
who was a karnam, should turn his attention to mathem- 
atics. It is said that he also wrote Bhadradri Rama- 
sataka. This is doubtful ; for, though the names of the 
authors are the same, the names of their fathers differ. 

Twelfth Century Poets. The twelfth is a century of 
royal poets and state religions. The dominant note of the 
century is the intensification of the religious consciousness 
of the people and the consequent birth of aggressive and 
propagandist creeds which sought the aid of kings for their 
expansion. Ramanuja began his missionary tours about 
the middle of this century. The Viravaishnava faith gave 
rise to the Virasaiva faith associated with Basava. Reli- 
gions ran into extremes. It is in this century that Telugu 
literature began to be influenced by Lingayatism. The three 
poets of this period are all supporters and propagandists of 
this faith. 

1. Prataparudra 1 (A.D. 1140-96) was a Kakatiya prince 
who made his reign illustrious by extensive conquests. He 
was a Virasaiva by faith and used his power for, the spread 
of his religion by giving largesses to propagandists, poets 
and preachers. He is the author of Nlti Sara in Sanskrit 
and in Telugu. It is natural and appropriate that a king 
should write on king-craft. In Sanskrit there is an exten- 
sive literature on Political Ethics, of which Sukramti, 
Panchatantra and Ckdnakya Nitisara are the outstand- 
ing examples. It does not appear whether this treatise 
is a translation or an original composition. In the next 
century Beddana, another king, wrote a book on the same 
subject, and refers to Prataparudra as his predecessor in the 
line. 

2. Palakuriki Somanatha, a Lingayat propagandist, 
flourished in his reign. Somanatha was a prolific writer on 
Saivism. He composed his poems in three languages : 
Telugu, Kanarese and Sanskrit. Through books and 
pamphlets, polemics and disputations, he carried a mis- 
sionary campaign which had the support of the court. Of 
his Telugu books, Panditdrddhya Charita, Dvipada 
Basava Pur ana and Anubhava Sara may be mentioned. 



52 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The first of these books was utilised by Srinatha for his 
work of the same name. Piduparti Somanatha composed 
the Basava Pzfrdna in verse some time later (1510). Soma- 
natha had for his disciple the minister of Prataparudra, 
Ninduturi Yannayamatya. 

3. Nannechodu. (A.D. 1150- . Title, * Kavi Raja 
Sikhamani,' ' Tenkanamatya ') was an Andhra Choda of 
Pakanadu. He was the author of Kumar a Sambhava, 
a Mahakavya. He is also said to have composed another 
book called Kalavilasa, which, however, is lost. In the 
prologue of his Kumar a Sambhava he states he is the 
son of Chodaballi, Lord of Pakanadu, and describes the 
capital of his kingdom as Orayur on the Kaveri, in the 
Trichy District, in which place we are told in all seriousness 
that stone trees blossom and stone cocks crow ! It cannot 
be maintained that Orayur was really the capital. As the 
family originally came from Kaveri, the convention was 
cherished, in defiance of geography, that their ancient family 
abode was the capital of the Telugu dominion. 

The Kumar a Sambhava is a recent discovery, unearthed 
by the industry of Mr. M. Ramakrishna, M.A., who claims 
that the poet belongs to the tenth century A.D. a claim not 
confirmed by critical examination. It is dedicated to 
Jarhgama Mallikarjuna, a Lingayat of renown. Kumdra 
Sambhava ranks high in the literature of the day. In 
Sanskrit, Kalidasa and Udbhata had written on the 
subject. Our poet has not followed either the one or 
the other exclusively, but has taken them both as his 
basis. Certain characteristic features of the poem are 
noticeable. Nannechodu is the first poet to employ 
Kanarese and Tamil words in Telugu poems. Though 
this practice is not objectionable in itself, and is even 
commendable where it adds to the beauty of verse, the 
poet cannot be said to have been discreet in the use of 
foreign words. His style, too, is not faultless. Sandhis 
not approved by standard grammarians are used by him. 
Notwithstanding these minor faults, there can be hardly any 
doubt of his extensive and massive learning in Sanskrit and 
Kanarese. In his composition he shows a perceptible 
partiality to Kanarese metres. Atharvana, the grammarian, 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 53 

has instanced him as one who courted death by using 
inauspicious metres. It would appear that he had no 
knowledge of auspicious and inauspicious ganas and, as a 
result, employed metres which proved calamitous in the end. 
He began his poem with sragdhara, in which, according to 
the rules of prosody, he had to use magana followed by 
ragana? which is inauspicious. Nannechodu lost his life 
shortly after in the internecine wars of the period. Another 
interesting fact is that Nannechodu used in his prologue the 
praise of good poets and sastyantamulu? Posterity 
associated these features with Tikkanna. But Nannechodu 
robs Tikkanna of his laurels in this respect. 

Thirteenth Century Poets. Ranganatha and Bhaskara, 
one at the beginning and the other at the end of the thirteenth 
century, remind us that this was pre-eminently a 
century of Ramayana translators. Tikkanna continued 
the translation of Bhdrata. We need hardly say that 
the age of Rama's worship is the age of Vaishnavism as 
well. The story of Rama, in its popular and literary 
appeal, excels the sister epic, the Mahabharata. While 
we have in Telugu literature only one translation of the 
Mahabharata, which took three centuries for completion^ 
there is a surfeit of renderings of the Ramayana. From 
the time of Nanniah, down to V. Subba Rao in the 
twentieth century, there is hardly a century which did not 
witness several attempts at the translation of this epic. 
As for the incidents and episodes of the Ramayana, the 
literary efforts they have called forth are innumerable. 

Valmiki's classic has always been the basis of these 
translations. Valmiki was not only a historian of Rama, but 
a champion of Aryan culture and Hinduism, and naturally 
his version, with all its theological implications, has been 
accepted by Hindus all over India. The Jains, who had 
renounced Brahmin theology, had their own version of the 
Ramayana, wherein, as in the case of the Jain Bharata, 

1 In verse the prosodical unit is a gana so many ganas of so much 
tone value making a line. A gana is made up of the prescribed sound 
elements, the short ones being called laghus, the long ones dlrghas. 

a See pp. 35 f., 48. 



54 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

the hero and the heroine are represented not as incarna- 
tions of God, but as persons of destiny, and the 
mythological and miraculous elements are more or less 
excluded. The Jain version is not represented in Telugu. 
The story of Rama after the recovery of Sita, relating to 
his reign, the birth of his children and his death, forms 
-as it were an epilogue to the epic, and is known as 
Uttara Rdmayana. This has been translated, as we have 
already indicated, by Tikkanna in all-verse, and by Kacha- 
vibhudu in Dvipada, and by Kamkanti Paparaju in 
Champu. The story has been allegorised and spiritualised 
under the names of Adhydtma and Vasishtha Rdmayana. 
The characters of the story are regarded as symbolising the 
various incidents in the ' Pilgrim's Progress of the Soul ' ; 
Rama as God, Sita as the individual soul, Ravana as Mdyd. 
Madiki Simganna, in the fifteenth century, translated the 
Vdsishta Rdmayana. Kanada Peddana Somayaji com- 
posed the Adhydtma Rdmayana of Visvamitra in verse in 
1750. Another school of thought, which conceived of life 
in cycles, in each of which the main events are reproduced 
in a more or less reduced form, maintained that the Rdma- 
yana was enacted in various yugas dvdpara, tretd, and 
kali ; and has assayed to give the story as it happened in a 
previous yuga. ^ One of such versions is represented in 
Telugu by the Sataka?ita Rdmayana, attributed to Bhima 
Kavi. In the thirteenth century we have two translations, 
one in two-feet metre by Ranganatha, and the other in 
Champu by Bhaskara. In Krishnadevaraya's time a 
lady, belonging to the potter caste, Molla by name, com- 
posed the Rdmayana in verse. In the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, literal prose translations began to 
appear. Then we have a translation in pure Telugu by 
Kuchimanchi Timmanna Kavi, and translations adapted to the 
stage and set to music. Without being a literal translation, 
the story of Rama is told under the name of Rdghavdbhyu- 
daya by Nanniah, and Ayyala Razu Ramabhadriah. There 
is no epic which has been so often or so variously translated 
as the Rdmayana. 

1. Ranganatha (A.D. 1230-40). The century opens 
with a translation in couplets of Rdmayana by Ranganatha. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 55 

Though associated with the name of Ranganatha, it was 
really composed, as the internal evidence and the explicit 
reference in the Colophon show, by Buddha Razu, a 
samanta or chieftain of Prataparudra II, who held sway 
over a district in Krishna. It is not possible to say with 
any certainty whether the epic was composed by Ranga- 
natha, the court-poet of Buddha Razu, in the king's name, 
or written by the king and dedicated to Ranganatha. The 
latter alternative seems to be the more probable ; in which 
case Buddha Razu may be regarded as having continued 
the royal example of Nannechodu and Prataparudra. The 
fact that, later in the century, the sons of Buddha Razu, 
Kachavibhudhu and Vittala Razu, completed this Rdmdyana 
by adding the Uttara Rdmdyana^ under instructions of 
their father, confirms this conjecture. Dvipada, though a 
somewhat monotonous vehicle for an epic like the Ramd- 
yana, is an easy and graceful medium. The poet's translation 
is simple, sweet and easily understandable by young and 
old. It is full of apt similes and pleasing alliterations. 

2. Atharvana (A.D. 1240- . Title, ' Dvitiyacharya '). 
Variously placed towards the beginning and the end of 
the century by historians, but regarded by tradition as 
the contemporary of Nanniah, Atharvana is the author of 
Trilihga Sabddnusdsana, the Trilinga grammar. The name 
Atharvana is regarded by many as not a real name, but an 
assumed title. The object of the author in writing this 
grammar is to show the antiquity of Telugu, and he probably 
thought that the homely name of Nallanna was hardly digni- 
fied^ enough for the purpose. The name does not occur 
in Andhra Desa ; indeed, Brahmins belonging to Atharvana 
Sakha are not to be found in the Telugu country, and there 
are not many in other parts of India. It is probable that 
the name is assumed to suggest that the language of which 
he is the grammarian is as ancient as the Atharva Veda. 
The author has the unique distinction of being the only 
Jain writer in the whole range of available Telugu literature. 
He is referred to as a standard author by later writers. The 
poet is also reputed to have written a work on prosody, 
Atharvana Chandas, and he attempted to continue the 
Bhdrata from where Nanniah had left it, and actually 



56 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

finished the Virata, Udhyoga and Bhisma Parvas. For 
some reason or other, neither of these works has survived, 
but illustrative stanzas are given from these by Appakavi. 

A grammarian is hardly qualified to be a poet ; and that 
may be the reason why Atharvana's Bhdrata had no 
chance alongside the brilliant achievement of his con- 
temporary, Tikkanna. Atharvana is called Dvitiyacharya 
to distinguish him from Nanniah, who is regarded as the 
first grammarian, and therefore the first acharya (Pratham- 
acharya). The book is written in Sanskrit, though the 
subject matter relates to Telugu grammar. 

3. Tikkanna. The most inspiring personality of this 
century was Tikkanna, who translated the Bhdrata , to which 
reference has been made already. Tikkanna was an octo- 
genarian, and saw the end of the century of which he is 
the most conspicuous poet. 

4. Mulaghatika Ketana (A.D. 1250- . Title, ' Abhi- 
nava Dandi '). He translated the Dasakumaracharitra 
from the Sanskrit original by Dandi, and dedicated it to 
Tikkanna. He also wrote a grammar, called Andhra Bhdshd- 
bhushana, and translated Vijnanesvara's commentary on 
Yajnavalkya's Smriti, known as Mitakshara, the govern- 
ing authority on Hindu law in South India. As there is no 
reference to Tikkanna's Bhdrata by this poet, it may be 
surmised that he wrote his Dasakumaracharitra before 
Tikkanna began his translation. Dasakumaracharitra (the 
adventures of ten princes) contains stories of common life 
and reflects a corrupt state of society of that day. 

5. Beddanna (A.D. 1261- ). An Andhra Choda minor 
feudatory chief of Shatsahastra land, in the reign of the 
Kakatiya princess, Rudramadevi. Like his predecessor, 
Prataparudra, this king composed a book, Nitisdstra Mukt- 
dvall the pearl chain of political truths a book dealing 
with the functions and duties of kings, appointment of 
officers, administration of justice, functions of the executive 
and the protection of the country ; in all, containing fifteen 
chapters on the science of politics. Beddanna is said to 
have been the author of Sumati Sataka, a canto of moral 
maxims, one of the most widely read moral text-books in 
the Telugu schools. This book, together with Vemana 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 57 

Sataka, supplies in imperishable verse, pointed and pithy, 
the moral training of the Telugu youth. 

6. Marana, a disciple of Tikkanna, wrote Markandeya 
Purana, which he dedicated to the minister Nagayyaganna, 
Commander of Prataparudra II. This book ranks very 
high in the literature of the time. The story of Markandeya 
is the basis of the Manucharitra of Peddana, who has paid 
Marana the compliment of imitation in many places. 

7. Manchanna, a contemporary of Tikkanna and a 
resident of Rajahmundry, wrote Keyurabdhucharitra and 
dedicated it to Nanduri Gundanna, a grandson of the 
minister of Prithvi Raja, the last of the Velanadu Chodas. 

8. Hullakki Bhaskara translated the Rdmdyana of 
Valmiki into Champu, and dedicated it to Sahinimara, 
literally a horseman. This unusual dedication is explained 
by a story which, as usual, is interesting, though unhistorical. 
The ruling prince, Buddha Razu, asked Ranganatha to 
compose the Rdmdyana. On hearing this, his minister, 
Bhaskara, undertook to have a better translation of the same 
epic done. The king promised that he would accept which- 
ever poem was brought to him first. Bhaskara gave the 
commission to the poet attached to him, Hullakki Bhaskara. 
Both Ranganatha and Bhaskara finished and brought them 
to the king on the same day. The king, who favoured 
Ranganatha, received his composition with his right hand 
and insulted Bhaskara by receiving his with the left hand. 
Chagrined at this lack of courtesy, the poet took back his 
book with the words that he would rather dedicate it to a 
horseman or a coachman than to a rude king. The king's 
horseman, hearing this and desiring to have his name 
perpetuated, requested the author to keep to his word. The 
story is no doubt a later invention, because, for one thing, 
Ranganatha and Mantri Bhaskara and Hullakki Bhaskara 
are not contemporaries. Moreover, Sahinimara is not a 
coachman, but the son of Buddha Razu and a cavalry com- 
mander in the imperial army. The story, however, does 
contain two elements of truth. The dedication to Sahini- 
mara seems to be an afterthought, and something must 
have occurred to have changed the poet's mind. The book 
was obviously written against time. It is a joint product 



58 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

of Bhaskara and his disciples, written with record speed, 
probably to overtake a rival in the race. 

Fourteenth Century Poets. Five poets, stars of the 
first magnitude, adorn this century, and it is a pity that the 
major portion of the heritage they have left is lost and 
has not come down to us. Vemalavada Bhima Kavi 

is a poet of mystery in Telugu literature. Tradition 
has been busy weaving stories round his name, so many 
and so incongruous, that we may well despair of coming 
to anything like an accurate determination of his date. 
Variously placed in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries A.D., it may be that he 
is one of our earliest poets. But the attempt to deter- 
mine his date by reference to historic persons associated 
with him by tradition has not been productive of any solid 
results. The cycle of legends which surround this poet 
belong to an age when the poet is regarded as an inspired 
prophet. Such stories in other literatures indicate generally 
that the poet who has gathered these myths and legends 
around him, belongs to the twilight of literary beginnings. 
Moreover, Srinatha places him before the Kavitraya ; an 
inexplicable error if he belonged to his own century. 

The mystery and uncertainty that hangs round the life of 
this poet extend to his poems as well. We are not in 
a position to state with any certainty that he is really 
the author of any of the books attributed to him. Apart 
from the fact that he was a staunch Saivite, nothing is 
known of him. Five or six books are attributed to him. 
They are : (1) Rdghava Pdndavlya, the story of Rama 
and Krishna, in a double-meaning verse. This book was 
lost and became a mere memory by the time of Pingali 
Suranna. (2) Kavi Janasraya, recently printed, is said 
to be the work of a Jain Komati, Rachanna. (3) and (4) 
Satakanta Rdmdyana and Nrisimha Pur ana are not 
extant and are known only by illustrative stanzas given in 
anthologies. There is an inherent improbability in a Saivite 
writing a Vishnu Purana. (5) It is exceedingly doubtful if 
the poet wrote the Vdsava Purana in Telugu, as there is a 
Sanskrit work of the same name associated with his name. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 59* 

Bhima Kavi flits across the stage like a strange shadow, 
the centre of myth and miracle, never materialising into a 
concrete figure of history. 

Nachana Soma and Amaresvara. Two Other poets, 
worthy to be ranked with the Kavitraya, have transmitted 
their reputation to posterity, but without transmitting much 
of their work which entitled them to fame. 

Nachana Soma (A.D. 1355-77). A court poet of Bukka 
Raya, an ancestor of Krishnadevaraya, is the author of 
Uttara Harivamsa. Probably dissatisfied with Errapra- 
gada's achievement, this poet wrote it in what is considered 
to be a style worthy of the theme. Competent critics 
have adjudged that the claim of the poet is made good by 
the excellence of his composition, which all through main- 
tains the high level of the Kavitraya and, in portions, even 
surpasses them. The same may be said of Chimmapudi 
Amaresvara, whose work, Vikramasena, celebrating the 
victories of King Vikrama of Ujjain, is lost. It is said that 
we should have had a Kavi Chatushta, including this poet 
with the three translators of the Bhdrata^ had not that name 
been reminiscent of the memory of the ' wicked four ' of the 
Bhdrata. The loss of Vikramasena is a great literary 
calamity. 

Errapragada, the third poet who completed the transla- 
tion of the Bhdrata ; Vinnakota Peddana, author of a gram- 
mar, Kdvydlankdra Childamani; and Ravipati Tippanna, 
author of Tripurdntakoddharana ; Madana Vijaya and 
Ambikasatakam all belong to the same century. 

Srinatha (A.D. 1365-1440). The poet who over- 
shadows all others of his age is Srinatha, who lived in 
the latter part of the fourteenth and the first half of the 
fifteenth century. Impartial criticism assigns to him a 
position equal to that of the Kavitraya, and there are 
many who hold that he is the supreme poet of Telugu 
literature. Unlike Nachana and Amaresvara, his reputa- 
tion is not built on unverifiable tradition or fragmentary 
remnants, but on extensive writings available for criticism. 
The Telugu language has not produced a poet who had 
such a phenomenal linguistic command over Telugu and 
Sanskrit. His Sringdra Naishada is a crown set with 



60 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

dazzling diamonds on the brow of Sarasvati. Born of 
humble parentage in an insignificant village, he carved out a 
name for himself by the excellence of his genius. His 
inspiration was unfailing. He never stumbled for a word, 
nor strained for a sentiment. The peculiar qualities of his 
style may be said to be majesty and stateliness. The rhythm 
and cadence of his words have something of the surge of 
the sea and, like the waves, they roll in serried ranks crested 
with white. Srmatha lisped in verses. While still an infant 
playing childish games he composed Marutrat Charitra. 
Barely out of his teens, he published Sdlivdhana Sapta 
Sail. In the prime of his youth he gave the world 
Naishada, his magnum opus, and Bhimesvara Purdna. 
In his mature old age, when the weight of years sat heavily 
on him, he brought out a kavya, Kdsikhdnda, worthy to be 
compared in all respects with the productions of his youth. 
Other Saivite works of his are Panditarddhya Charitra, 
which had for its basis Palakuriki Somanatha's book of that 
name; Sivardtri Mahdtmya, recently discovered and 
published by the Andhra Par is had ; Vallabhdbhyud- 
aya\ Haravildsa and Sringdra Dlpikd a work on 
poetics, which, though purporting to be the composition of 
Kumaragiri Reddi, is held by many to be by Srinatha. In 
two other poems attributed to him, Palndti Vlra Charita 
and Vidhindtaka, he is the pioneer of an untrodden 
field of literary effort. The first is a saga of the Reddi 
kings a romance of love and war among the local tribal 
lords of his days. Literary history of this type is rare in 
Telugu. 

A far more interesting departure from the beaten track 
was Vidhindtaka* Though the existing work of that 
name is a disgusting combination of high art and low 
morals, there can be no doubt that the original conception, 
of which it is the degenerate descendant, had its birth in the 
fertile imagination of Srinatha. Vidhindtaka in Telugu 
literature has no resemblance to its namesake in Sanskrit 
drama, described in the Dasarupa. Vidhindtaka con- 
tains mostly descriptions of street scenes of Rajahmundry in 

1 The standard work on drama in Sanskrit. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 61 

light running verses. The poet gives us an insight into the 
familiar scenes of city life in his own inimitable way. 
Then comes a vivid description of the ladies the poet has 
met in the streets of Rajahmundry in a live-long day. 

Of his numerous kavyas two, which reflect his genius at 
its best, deserve mention. In the Sanskrit language there 
are five books, called Panchamahd Kavyas, which every 
pandit, with any pretension to culture, is expected 
to master. They are, the three works of Kalidasa known 
as Kalidasa Tray a, Bharavi's Kirdtdrjunlya and Magha's 
Sisupalavadha. It is only after the student has studied 
these five books that he is supposed to be fit to under- 
take the difficult classic, Naishada. There is also a 
proverb which shows that two books in Sanskrit were 
regarded as extremely difficult for the student, viz. Kasl- 
khdnda Mayahpinda and Naishada Vidvat Aushada. Few 
poets were willing to test their skill by undertaking 
the translation of what are considered by the pandits to be 
the most difficult kavyas extant. Srmatha essayed this 
difficult task with remarkable success. 

Naishada, which celebrates the fortunes of Nala and 
Damayanti, was composed in Sanskrit by Sriharsha. Sri- 
harsha's book, on account of its difficult style, is called the 
medicine for the pandit. 

' A Srinatha for a Sriharsha ' so goes the proverb. 
Srinatha's translation of this remarkably high-class kavya 
excels in places the original itself in beauty. Full of 
sonorous and sweet samdsas, the poem has the complicated 
symphony of an orchestra. Verses full of sibilant sweetness 
and labial liquidity abound. Descriptions of women are 
vivid, delicate and artistic. Lines linger in the memory like 
forgotten music. The book deserves all the praise which 
has been bestowed on it. 

An interesting story is told in connection with Srmatha's 
Naishada. In places, the poet almost transliterates, 
instead of translates, the original. This gave rise to an 
amusing incident. Hearing of the astounding knowledge 
of the boy prodigy, Pillalamarri Pinavirabhadriah, 1 Srmatha 

1 See p. 66. 



62 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

was anxious to get his opinion of his book. Finding him 
playing in the street with other boys, Srmatha approached 
him and informed him of his purpose. The boy asked him 
how he translated the phrase, ' Garni karmi kruta Naikani 
Vrutta ' in the original. Srinatha replied that he translated it 
as ' Garni karmi kruta Naikani Vruthuda.' On hearing this 
the boy critic observed, * Your only contribution seems to 
be the syllable "da." We cannot, of course, take this as 
serious criticism. However, it illustrates Srinatha's fine 
sense of symphony. Where the original was untranslatable 
he never attempted it. Moreover, by a slight change just 
of a letter here and a letter there, Srinatha could transform 
harsh phrases in the original into sweet ones in Telugu. It 
is a noteworthy fact, illustrative of the essential symphony 
of Telugu, that Sanskrit when transliterated into Telugu 
gains considerably in sweetness and music. 

Srinatha's character seems to have been as full of faults 
as his style is free from them. Tradition has associated with 
his name many stories which do not add lustre to his 
character, and there are aspects of his work which seem to 
confirm the traditional impression, though much of it may 
be gross exaggeration. Nevertheless, in Srinatha we 
have a poet worthy to be ranked with the Kavitraya, and 
one at whose hands Telugu poetry attained a majesty and 
dignity unapproached ever since. 

Fifteenth Century Poets. The closing century of the 
period of translations witnessed the rendering of the Puranas 
into Telugu, of which the most important is Srl-Mad-B haga- 
vata, dealing exclusively with the history of Sri Krishna as 
an incarnation of Vishnu. It is said that Vyasa, who com- 
posed the Sanskrit Bharata, was not satisfied with the 
incidental mention of Krishna therein, and wanted to write 
an epic exclusively celebrating Krishna as the hero, and so 
produced the Bhagavata. The Bhagavata has been 
regarded as the main sacred book of the Bhakti school and 
is specially held in high veneration by Vaishnavites. We 
may therefore regard the translation of the Bhagavata as 
the first literary symptom of the influence of Vaishnavism, 
which is more perceptible in the second stage of the deve- 



63 

lopment of Telugu literature in the reign of Krishnadeva- 
raya. 

The word Purana means an ancient story or legend, 
but in course of time it has come to indicate a literary 
medium suitable for semi-didactic and semi-devotional 
themes. As a matter of fact, the subject-matter of a Purana 
is varied. There are in Sanskrit eighteen chief Puranas. 
All these deal with the cosmogony of the Universe, with 
incidental references to the history of the world, including 
India and its future development. Most of these Puranas 
belong to the realistic school of philosophy, which regard 
creation not as Maya but as the Llla of God. We owe the 
reconstruction of the Andhra dynastic story to the Vdyu and 
Vishnu Puranas. Sometimes a Purana is merely a 
philosophic exposition of a religion, such as Saivism or 
Vaishnavism, in the form of a dialogue or story narrated by 
a rishi. Not infrequently it is the story of a sectarian 
religion with distinctly mytho-poetic tendencies, like the 
Basava Purana. The proper function of a Purana is said, in 
the Mahdbhdrata, to be the narration of the genealogy of 
any great king of antiquity. 

We have already seen that in the thirteenth century A.D. 
Marana translated the Mdrkandeya Purana ; and in the 
fourteenth, Errapragada translated the Nrisimha Purana ; 
Srinatha, the Bhlmesvara and Basava Puranas ; and 
Kamalanabha, grandfather of Srinatha, Padma Purana. 
The outstanding poet of the first half of the fifteenth century 
was Bammera Potana, who translated the Bhagavata. 

Bammera Potana (A.D. 1400-75). The author of the 
Bhdgavata Purana was a Niyogi Saivite. His birthplace 
has been the cause of a protracted controversy. The 
honour is claimed by Warangal, capital of Prataparudra 
in the Nizam's Dominions, and Ontimitta in Cuddappah. 
Potana was honoured in his day for his purity, integrity 
and independence. In this he was a striking contrast 
to his brother-in-law, Srinatha, who lacked the subtle 
sense of self-respect. Srinatha basked in the sunshine 
of royal favour ; Potana avoided kings aud courts. 
Srinatha knew how to turn rhyme into rupees, Potana 
preferred poverty with honour to riches and wealth; 



64 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Snnatha dedicated every one of his poems to a king or a 
rich man ; Potana spurned to wed the damsel of poesy to 
wretched kings for money ; Srmatha was a courtier, Potana 
a devotee. Many stories are told of Srinatha'a attempts to 
induce Potana to befriend the mammon of unrighteousness, 
but he preferred to live and die a poor man, and disdained 
to bow the knee to kings while he had Siva to worship 
and Krishna to celebrate. 

Potana was a self-made and self-taught man. He appears 
to have had no formal schooling. This is why some defects, 
counted as such by pandits, are found in his style. It is 
a signal proof of the devastating influence of criticism 
on literature that his B hag aval a should not have been 
regarded by some as a standard work, notwithstanding its 
bewitching beauty of style and sentiment. It is said that 
while grazing cattle the poet met a yogi called Jitananda, 
by whose blessing he obtained his intellectual awakening 
and the gift of poetry. In his early days, Potana was a gay 
young man, a favourite in the court of Rao Singhama, in 
praise of whose courtesan he composed a rhapsody called 
Bhoginl Dandaka. This was the work of Potana before 
his conversion. After conversion, he began the translation 
of Bhagavata. We have already said that the Bhdgavata 
deals with Krishna. In narrating the incident of Dhaksha 
Yaga it was necessary to relate the Rakshasas' enmity to 
Siva and the words of contumely used by him. As 
a staunch Saivite, Potana felt this very much, and by way 
of atonement is said to have written Vlrabhadra Vijaya in 
praise of Siva. 

Potana 's life was devoted to the translation of the Bhaga- 
vata, which he dedicated to Rama. Rao Singhama wished 
that the book should be dedicated to him, but it is said that 
Potana, in spite of the persecutions to which he was 
subjected, would not consent to dedicate his poem to a 
mere man, though a king. The Telugu BJuigavata, unlike 
the Telugu Rdmayana and Bharata, is much bigger than 
the original ; and, unlike them also, portions of it are very 
popular even among the illiterate. Gajendra Moksha 
and Rukmam Kalyana are perhaps the most widely read 
and recited portions in Telugu literature. The style of 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 65 

Potana is full of Sanskritisms but, for all that, rich in 
topical interest and local colour. As an inspirational poet 
he is not excelled by any other, and his Bhdgavata is 
regarded and utilised as a standard manual of devo- 
tion. 

It would appear that Potana did not publish the Bhdgavata 
in his life-time. He was disgusted with the worldliness of 
his day and concluded that the public of the time were 
unworthy to hear his poem. He left it as a heritage to his 
son, Mallana, with instructions that he should give it the 
Pearl of Great Price to a pure man who had devotion in his 
heart. Potana's son did not open the box in which the 
manuscript was deposited, but bequeathed it to his friend, 
Veligandala Narayya, who discovered that portions of it 
were destroyed by Bana worms. The portions so destroyed 
were completed by Erchuri Sirhganna and Veligandala 
Narayya. Later, Haribhat (1660) translated portions of 
the Bhdgavata. We have also the Bdla- Bhdgavata by 
Koneru Kavi. Apart from the Vishnu Bhdgavata, we 
have another Bhdgavata called Devi Bhdgavata, which 
was translated by an early poet, Dammanadora, and later 
by Srirama Pantulu and Mulugu Papayya. Tirupati 
Venkatesvara Kavulu has also recently published a trans- 
lation of this work. 

Among the contemporaries of Srinatha and Potana, the 
following may be mentioned : 

1. Jakkanna (A.D. 1410- ). Translated or composed Vikramarka 
Charitra, celebrating the victories of Vikramarka, the King of Ujjain, 
a patron of Sanskrit literature and a hero much celebrated in history 
and song. 

2. Madiki Sirhganna (A.D. 1420- ). Translated the Padma Pttrana, 
and Vasishta Ramdyana, the tenth canto of Bhagavata and a treatise 
on politics, called Sakdla Nlti Sammatamu. 

3. Nissenka Kommanna (A.D. 1430- ). Wrote Sivallla Vilasa 
and Viramahesvara. 

4. Anantamatya (A.D. 1434- ), author of Rasabharana, Bhoja 
Rajlya, a book of wonder tales, Ananta Chandas, a book on 
prosody. 

5. Gouranna Mantri, a minister who composed Harichandro- 
pakyana, the story of the prince who never spoke a lie and who, for 
the sake of truth, lost his throne, wife and liberty ; and Navanatha 
Charitra, remarkable as an early instance of the short story. Both of 
these are in Dvipada. 



66 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

6. Vinukonda Vallabha (A.D. 1420- ). Vinukonda Vallabha was 
the son of Ravipati Tippanna. This Tippanna was the ruler of a few 
villages in Muliki Nadu", besides being the keeper of the crown jewels of 
Hari Hara Raja. The poet's Krldabhiramamti, though it purports to 
be a translation of a drama in Sanskrit by name Premddhiramamu, is 
really an original composition. The author is the first Telugu poet to 
translate a drama as a drama, whereas till then Sanskrit dramas were 
translated as mere kavyas. Krldabhiramamu, like ^rinatha's 
Vldhinataka, is a unique piece of literature in Telugu, an original 
literary mode exceedingly rare. The scene is laid at Warangal. It 
is the story of the travels narrated by Govinda Machanna to his friend 
Komati Vitagramani, informing him of the scenes he had witnessed 
and the adventures he had met while in Warangal. He gives a 
delightful description of a cock-fight in the streets of Warangal. 

Pillalamarri Pinavirabhadriah (A.D. 1450-80). The 
second half of the fifteenth century produced one poet of 
outstanding merit, who stands at the close of the era of 
translations, summing up in himself extraordinary learning 
in Sanskrit, encyclopaedic knowledge of the Vedas and Ved- 
angas, and a widespread reputation for sanctity. Pillalamarri 
Pinavirabhadriah takes his place in the rank of inspired 
poets who owe their achievements not to laborious training, 
but to native talents, imparted by the favourite deity. 
Pinavira's family tree is adorned with many poets ; and if 
tradition can be trusted, the boy-prodigy had in his tenth 
year all the massive learning of a pandit of forty. We are 
told that Srinatha, who wanted to have the poet's 
criticism of his Naishada, had to seek him among boys playing 
in the street, and could hardly bring himself to believe that 
the poet whom reputation had made so formidable was a 
young lad in his teens. Yet, with one shrewd question and 
a sharp comment, the boy-poet sent Srinatha about his 
business a sadder and wiser man and rejoined his playmates, 
all unconscious that he had sat in judgment and condemned 
the greatest poet of the age. 1 

Pillalamarri Pinavirabhadriah was the court poet of Saluva 
Narasimha Razu, who was for some time the commander of 
Virupaksha Raya, whom he supplanted, and became an 
independent ruler of Ana-Gonda in Bellary District. The 
poet was the disciple of Bharatitirta Svami, through 

1 Seep. 61 f. 



THE AGE OF TRANSLATION 67 

whose favour he obtained the gift of poetry. Many works 
are attributed to him, of which the following may be 
mentioned : 

1. Jaimini Bharata. 

2. Sringdra Sdkuntala. 

3. Avatar a Darpuna. 

4. Ndradiya. 

5. Mag ha Mahdtya. 

6. Purushdrtha Sud/id Nidhi. 

7. Mdnasolldsa Sara. 

Of these, only the first two are extant. A story current in 
connection with the Jaimini Bhdrata illustrates the popular 
idea of the poet's versatility. Virabhadriah, like many a 
great poet, led a wild life in his youth, wasting his substance 
among women. His brother, a very pious Brahmin, had to 
admonish him very often, but without effect. Having 
promised the king to compose Jaimini Bhdrata, he 
neglected the task till the last day, notwithstanding the 
remonstrances of his brother. On the last day he had a 
room cleaned and purified, and locked himself in. The 
members of the family could hear the scratch, scratch of 
the stylo on the palm-leaves. His brother, curious to know 
what was happening, peeped through the keyhole and found, 
to his astonishment, a lady furiously writing at great speed. 
She stood up and went away when she saw the poet's 
brother. The story is that Sarasvati was the consort of the 
poet and she completed the whole epic in a night. The 
next day he read his composition in the court, and when the 
pandits applauded the grace of his diction he openly claimed 
Sarasvati as his queen a claim which the audience 
regarded as blasphemous. But a woman's voice was heard 
from behind the curtain which justified the poet's claim. 
It is possible that among the lady-loves of the poet was a 
poetess of extraordinary ability, who assisted him in his 
labours. Whatever value may be attached to this story, it 
was generally believed in his day that the poet had Sarasvati 
at his command. 

The court poets correctly characterised his style as the 
lily that gently unfolds its petals and suffuses the air with 
its soft aroma. 



68 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Among Pillalamarri Pinavirabhadriah's contemporaries 
the following may be mentioned : 

1. Praudhakavi Mallana (1450- ), author of Rukmangada Charitra 
or Ekadsi Mahatya a poem of considerable merit. The poet is said 
to be the son of Bammera Potana, but this is doubtful. 

2. Bhairavakavi wrote rlranga Mahatya, Kavi Gajankusa, 
a treatise on prosody, and Ratna astra. The last is a purely 
scientific work, in verse, on precious stones. 

3. Vennela Kanti Suranna (1460- ), author of the Vishnu 
Pur ana, which he dedicated to Raghava Reddi, a Vaishnavite like 
himself. 

4. Dubagunta Narayana (1470- ), translated Panchatantra in 
verse. Venkatanatha, who lived a little later, translated the same 
book. Though this author's Panchatantra is inferior to Venkata- 
natha's, yet it is an exceedingly readable book. The stories are 
related in an easy fluent style, at once simple and clear. 

5. Namdi Malliah, and Ghanta Simgiah (1480- ). These two 
poets composed together. Of their work, the more important are 
Prabhoda Chandrodaya, a curious drama of divine knowledge, 
expounding various systems of philosophy, and Varaha Pur ana. 

6. Duggupalli Duggiah (1480- ). This poet is the brother of 
Srinatha's wife. He wrote Nachiketopakyana and Kanchipura 
Mahatya. 

7. Manu Manchi Bhat. Though his date cannot be fixed with 
certainty, he probably belongs to the close of this century. He wrote 
a book on veterinary science Ha ya Lakshanasara. This book, 
dealing with the treatment and training of horses, is a translation 
from Salihotra's book in Sanskrit. Particular interest attaches to this 
book, as it deals with a subject supposed to be quite modern. 



VII 

THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 
( A j). 1509-1618) 

The Reign of Krishnadevaraya (A.D. 1509-30) is a 
proud chapter in Andhra history. Politically, under his 
able leadership, the Andhras began to revive the glory of 
Raja-Raja-Narendra. The imperial grandeur of Krishna- 
devaraya's reign was reflected in the republic of letters, by 
the birth of a literary movement, by far the brightest in 
history for originality and independence, known as the 
Kavya or Prabandha period. 

The poet, too, had inspiring themes to perpetuate in song 
and verse. The Muhammadan wave of conquest, moving 
downwards, was exercising its irresistible pressure on South 
India. The invader was at the gates. The defender, 
whom Providence put forward as the saviour of the 
country, was none else than Krishnadevaraya. Spring- 
ing from a petty dynasty on the banks of the Tunga- 
bhadra, Krishnadevaraya shot into fame by his remarkable 
military career. He stemmed the tide of foreign invasion 
on one side, and on the other consolidated, expanded and 
established an empire as wide and glorious as any witnessed 
in the annals of South India. Those were stirring, spacious 
times, of great heroes and glorious battles, of love and 
valour, and of splendid victories and spreading dominion 
a period altogether cast after the heart of a poet. 

The Emperor Krishnadevaraya was a patron of 
letters, and himself a poet of no mean order. He was also a 
scholar in three languages Sanskrit, Kanarese and Telugu. 
In the intervals of his wars he plunged into literature. The 
imperial court became the resort of the wandering minstrel 
and the peripatetic poet. It resounded to a battle of wits 



70 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

and competition of poets as momentous in the history of 
letters as the glorious military conquests were in the politi- 
cal history of the land. Thus was born, under the most 
propitious stars, a literary movement which in its youth was 
the glory, and in its decadence the humiliation, of Telugu 
literature. This new chapter in our literary history, was 
inspired and led by Krishnadevaraya. 

Up to A.D. 1500, Telugu literature may be characterised 
as belonging to the age of translations, wherein the poet 
borrowed his theme both in substance and in detail from 
the Sanskrit original. The reign of Krishnadevaraya 
marks the beginning of a new era of literary freedom. 
Under his insdiring leadership, imitation was exchanged 
for self-expression. Released from the leading-strings of 
Sanskrit, the Telugu language celebrated its coming of age 
by inaugurating the literature of freedom. The kavya is 
essentially descriptive, while the epic is fundamentally 
narrative. The epic depends for its appeal on the events 
and situations in the story, and the kavya on the wealth 
and variety of the descriptive element. The kavya 
afforded considerable room for the display of imagination 
and individual taste. The plot, generally thin, is woven 
round a significant, but little known, Puranic episode. The 
chief interest lay in the painting of character, the portrayal 
of passing moods and moving passions, and the analysis of 
emotion. The epic crowded the canvas with innumer- 
able figures ; the kavya cleared the stage of all but the 
hero and the heroine, it traced the birth and growth of 
their love and held a mirror to the changing moods and the 
elusive hopes and fears of their romance. Another notice- 
able characteristic is the studied employment of a decorative 
style, in which certain figures of speech, such as the simile 
and the hyperbole, play an important part. Allied to this 
feature is the use of slesha, the conjunction of words which 
give a double meaning. The style is sonorous, with a 
distinct bias for massing Sanskrit compound words. 

Krishnadevaraya most appropriately leads off the 
movement with his Amuktamalyada or Vishnuchittlya. 
This kavya is remarkable, not only as the firstfruits of a 
new movement, but also as a clear indication of the influ- 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 71 

ence of Vaishnavism on Telugu literature. The works of 
the first period are predominantly Saivite ; but in Amukta- 
mdlyada we have a purely Vaishnavite story, marking the 
stage when Vaishnavism has become the source of poetic 
inspiration. The plot relates to the life-story of a 
Vaishnavite bhakta. In the sacred city of Sri-Villuputtur, 
in the Pandya kingdom, there lived a pious Brahmin, Vish- 
nuchitta, whom the gods chose as the triumphant champion 
of Vaishnavism. He found on the banks of a lotus-pond a 
female child of surpassing beauty, whom he received as a 
gift from God and reared as his own daughter. This child, 
Amuktamalyada, was the light of his house and the pride 
of his heart. When she grew up to womanhood, she began 
to pine away, for some unknown reason. The secret of her 
sorrow was her love to Ranganatha, the deity at Srirangam. 
The father, on divining his daughter's affections, took her 
to the deity, who condescended to receive her as his wife. 
The celestial household spent the rest of their lives in 
bliss divine. 

The style of Krishnadevaraya is so high and the 
diction so complicated that the reader is at first repelled 
rather than attracted. But the persevering student reaps a 
rich reward. He will find therein customs and religious 
beliefs of a bygone age vividly portrayed. He will 
gradually feel the tonic effects of a vigorous style and the 
glow of a new inspiration. There is hardly a book in 
Telugu where there is such a continual flow of ideas, 
seeking an impetuous outlet in language which, though 
rich, is yet scarcely equal to the task of full and adequate 
expression. For insight into human nature, and for facility 
in depicting elusive moods by some striking phrase, 
Krishnadevaraya has no superior, and scarcely an equal. 

Krishnadevaraya was deeply versed in Sanskrit, and 
he is said to have written the following works in Sanskrit, 
though none of them are available : 

1. Maddlasd Charitra. 

2. Satya V ad hit Preitanamu. 

3. Sakala Kathd Sara Sangraha. 

4. Jndna Chintdmani. 

5. Rdsdmanjarl. 



72 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Raya's services to Telugu literature are manifold. He 
composed in Telugu himself, and encouraged other poets to 
do so, often supplying them with materials and themes for 
composition ; above all, as the hero of many battles, he was 
the inspiration of his age. 

The royal court was adorned with many eminent poets, of 
whom eight, called the ' Ashtadiggajas,' or eight elephants 
supporting the world of literature, have become famous. 
They are : 

1. Allasani Peddana. 

2. Nandi Timmanna. 

3. Ayyala Raju Ramabhadriah. 

4. Dhurjati. 

5. Madiahgari Mallana. 

6. Pingali Suranna. 

7. Ramaraja Bhushana. 

8. Tenali Ramakrishna. 

It is almost certain that the last three poets did not write 
in the reign of Krishnadevaraya, though it is unquestion- 
ably true that they, along with the rest, are the classic 
exponents of the kavya type of literature. 

1. Allasani Peddana (Title, ' Andhra Kavita Pita Ma- 
hudu ') was the Poet Laureate of Krishnadevaraya's court, and 
the most illustrious and prominent of the poets of the day. 
The author of a classic which was regarded as the ideal of 
kavya literature, honoured by the king, looked up to for 
guidance and help by the literati, Peddana occupies a unique 
position in the literary world. His great influence in the 
royal court, his undisputed eminence as a poet, made him 
the autocrat of the world of letters. What he laid down 
was law ; what he approved of was fame. While to Krishna- 
devaraya belongs the honour of being the founder of 
Prabandha literature, it was Peddana who, with his Manu- 
charitra, deflected the course of Telugu literature and made 
the kavya the archetypal literary mode for centuries to 
come. 

Peddana 's celebrated kavya, Svarochisha Manucharitra 
(shortly Manucharitra), has easily eclipsed all other poetical 
efforts of the day. The story is an episode from the 
Markandeya Pur ana relating to Svarochisha Manusam- 



bhava. A pious Brahmin of Arunaspada, on the banks 
of the Varuna, visits the heights of the Himalayas, tradition- 
ally reputed to be the abode of a higher order of beings 
than men, with the aid of a mantra imparted to him by a 
sidha. In his wanderings he attracts the attention of 
a Gandharva damsel, who falls in love with him, but 
he does not reciprocate her feelings. A male Gand- 
harva, taking advantage of the situation, assumes the 
form of the Brahmin, consoles the love-lorn maiden and 
lives with her. Out of the union was born Svarochisha, 
who in time becomes a ruler and meets many an adventure, 
in each of which he rescues a maiden whom he weds. The 
son of Svarochisha is the second Manu, ruler of Jambu- 
dvipa. The story, as will be seen, is slight, but the main 
interest lies in the varied descriptions of the natural beauty 
of the Himalayas, and the delineations of character. 

In literary form, Manucharitra is of composite structure. 
The poem reveals in many places the characteristic touch 
of Srinatha, for whom Peddana seems to have entertained 
great respect. In the description of the hunt, Pillalamarri 
Pinavirabhadriah is followed. In the conception of situa- 
tions, Marana's inspiration is traceable. In the development 
of the theme, Krishnadevaraya sets the model. Manu- 
charitra well illustrates what we may call 'eclecticism in 
composition,' a very noticeable feature in latter-day poetry. 

Peddana 's learning in Sanskrit and Telugu was prodi- 
gious and his flow of inspiration sustained. In the weaving 
of words his skill was extraordinary, as Kakamani Murti 
justly observed. And yet one or two defects are noticeable. 
Unities are lacking, and the various parts of the story do 
not properly articulate. Sweet imagery is meagre, though 
descriptions are delightful, and conversations cunningly 
managed. 

Peddana followed the royal example of laying under 
tribute foreign words, especially Kanarese, whenever 
necessary. This practice, though condemned by purists, is 
a welcome departure, as it adds to the beauty and symphony 
of the verse. Hari Kathd Sara, which is attributed to 
Peddana, is not extant. 

Manucharitra was dedicated to Krishnadevaraya, who 



74 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

honoured the poet above all others, lavished praise and 
gifts on him and conferred on him the title of ' Kavi Tapita 
Maha.' The position which Peddana occupied in the royal 
court was something akin to that of Nanniah in the Chalukya 
Court, i.e., that of a personal friend whom the king had 
made his confidant. Like Nanniah too, he had the privilege 
of inspiring a new literary movement. Nanniah's fault was 
his also jealousy of any rising poet who promised to 
attract the royal attention. 

Many stories are told of the king's regard for Peddana. 
Krishnadevaraya was so much pleased with Manucharitra 
that he insisted, as a mark of his appreciation, on being one 
of the pole-bearers of his palanquin. On another occasion 
the emperor insisted on fixing a golden bangle on the poet's 
leg with his own hands, as a reward for victory in a literary 
contest. We find Peddana on his retirement, broken down 
with age and sorrow, bemoaning his desolation at the loss of 
his royal friend and patron. 

2. Nandi Timmanna (popularly known as Mukku 
Timmana) was the second great poet of the royal court. 
He was a Niyogi Brahmin of the Aruvela sect and a staunch 
Saivite by faith. The life-work of the poet was Parijdtd- 
paharana, which he dedicated to King Krishnadevaraya. 
The story celebrates an incident in the life of Sri Krishna, 
whose efforts to satisfy his rival wives often placed him in 
embarrassing situations. On one occasion he incurred the 
displeasure of Satyabhama, by giving Rukmani the flower 
from Paradise known as Parijata. It is said that when 
Sri Krishna fell at Satyabhama's feet in an effort to 
appease her, she spurned him with a kick. The tactful 
husband, pocketing the insult, turned her wrath with the 
soft answer that he was more sorry that her tender feet 
should be hurt, than that he should be insulted. To 
satisfy his angry spouse Sri Krishna goes to Svargaloka, 
and after a desperate battle with the heavenly hosts of 
Indra, who jealously guard the Parijata, succeeds in 
removing the tree to Satyabhama's palace. The lovers' 
quarrel was soon composed, and the curtain drops over the 
happy pair rejoicing in each other. There is a beautiful 
story told as to the circumstances under which the poet 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 75 

wrote his kavya. It would appear that on one occasion 
Krishnadevaraya had a quarrel with his wife which 
threatened to develop into a serious breach. The queen 
was found sleeping with her legs towards the head of his 
portrait on the bed-sheet. This the king construed into a 
personal insult, and hence the quarrel. The poet, who 
probably came to the royal court in the retinue of the 
queen, was asked to intercede. This poem was written to 
show to the king that great freedom is permitted be- 
tween lovers and that a wise husband should be slow in 
fancying insults where none was intended. It is said that 
the king caught the hint, so delicately conveyed through 
the poem, and became reconciled to his wife. 

The poem is a rare prabandha, full of honeyed words, 
sweet sentiments and delicate and polished imagery. As a 
work of art it occupies a very high place in Telugu 
literature. 

3. Ayyala Raju Ramabhadra Kavi (also known as 
Pillala Ramabhadriah Ramabhadriah-Of -Many-Children, on 
account of his large family). Unable to support his growing 
family, the poet, it would seem, contemplated suicide, but 
was dissuaded by his friends. At their advice he went with 
his family to Vijianagaram, with the desperate resolve to earn 
a livelihood or die in the attempt. Providence helped him 
at the outset, for on his entry into the capital, he met with 
an adventure which brought him a friend, who introduced 
him to the royal court. Caught in a thunder-storm and 
drenched to the bone, the poet found in a garden a group of 
students who were struggling hard at the task set by their 
master i.e., to give a description of the physical effects 
of virdha (love-sickness). The poet offered to help them 
if they could kindle a fire for him. Under the grateful 
glow of the crackling fire, he composed a stanza which the 
students presented to their master as their own unaided 
achievement. Tradition identifies their master with 
Ramaraja Bhushana, author of Vasucharitra. The master 
at once realised that he was dealing with a poet of eminence 
and asked his students to take him to the stranger. Thus 
was formed a friendship which secured for the poet an 
entry into the coveted circle of royal poets. 



76 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The poet, at the command of Krishnadevaraya, com- 
posed Sakala KatJid Sara Sangraha, a poem in nine 
cantos containing the famous Puranic stories of Rama 
Pururava, etc. The poem was not finished by the time 
Krishnadevaraya died. After the death of his patron, 
the poet settled in the court of the nephew of the son-in- 
law of Krishnadevaraya, and composed Ramabhyudaya. 

4. Dhurjati, a staunch Saivite, was also of the select 
circle. He hailed from Kalahasti, and appropriately com- 
posed Kalahasti Mahdtmya^ a kavya extolling the virtues 
of Kalahasti as a place of pilgrimage. Krishnadevaraya 
often wondered at the elegance of his characterisation. 
Once in the full court the emperor propounded the ques- 
tion, ' Whence did this worshipper of the poison-throated 
Siva get this incomparable sweetness of expression ? ' The 
answer which the assembled poets gave, while confirming 
the royal patron's approbation, shows him to be a gay 
young man with rather doubtful morals. Dhurjati managed 
to combine a reputation for profound piety with consider- 
able looseness of character. 

5. Madiahgari Mallana, another Saivite poet of the 
court, was the author of Raja SekJiara Charitra. He was so 
called to distinghish him from Praudhakavi Mallana. 

6. Sankusala Nrishimhakavi. Though not counted 
among the * great eight ', he deserves special mention, as he 
ranks among the foremost of the poets of the day. 
The poet wrote Kavikarna Rasayana, which he desired 
to dedicate to the emperor. With this object he approached 
Peddana, and, after reading to him portions of his work, 
requested him to introduce him to the emperor. Peddana, 
jealous of the poet's ability, and apprehensive that his own 
position might be jeopardised, put obstacles in his way. 
Disgusted at Peddana's conduct, and unable to obtain an 
entry into the royal presence, the poet was driven to selling 
his poem in the open market. One of the stanzas sold 
reached Mohanangi, the daughter of the emperor. One day, 
while playing chess, she repeated a stanza from Kavi- 
karna Rasdyana. The emperor, struck with the beauty 
and aptness of the stanza, enquired where she got it from 
and was told that a starving poet sold it in the bazaar. The 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 77 

emperor was grieved to learn about the plot of Peddana, and 
wanted to make amends to the poet by permitting him to 
dedicate his work to him. But this was not to be, as Nri- 
siiiihakavi had left the place for Srirangam, where he dedicat- 
ed his poem to the goddess of the shrine. Whether the story 
is true or not, it illustrates the fact that true genius is 
irrepressible, and in the days of Krishnadevaraya merit 
never remained unrecognised in the long run. Nrisimha 
did not suffer fools gladly, and he has devoted a considerable 
portion of his introduction to the condemnation of incompe- 
tent poets. 

7 and 8. Kummari Molla and Kumar i Dhurjati. 
Two other poets of the reign are Kummari Molla, the 
potter poetess, who composed a Ramayana ; and Kumari 
Dhurjati, who chronicled the conquests of Krishnadevaraya 
under the name of Krishnadevaraya Vijaya. He also 
composed Savitrl Charitra and Indumatt Viva ha. 

Of the minor poets of the time we need mention only the following : 
(1) Bhaskara Pantulu, who wrote Kanyakapurana, the story of the 
patron saint of a sect of Vats' yas ; jind (2) Piduparti Somanatha and 
Piduparti Basavakavi two Lingayat poets authors of Basava 
Purana and Prabhulinga Lila, respectively. 

The latter half of the sixteenth century A.D. was dominated 
by three poets, Pingali Suranna, Ramaraja Bhushana, and 
Tenali Ramakrishna, all of whom, while carrying forward 
the general movement of kavya literature, added, by way 
of individual contribution, new elements and variations. Of 
these three poets, Pingali Suranna stands out easily the most 
prominent, by his daring originality, freedom from conven- 
tion and unique variety of genius. It is natural that the 
fame of Peddana's Manucharitra should have challenged the 
ambition of that aspiring age. Nrisirhhakavi, with his 
Kavikarna Rasayana, tried to scale higher altitudes, 
by including in the range of descriptions a larger variety 
than Peddana utilised or the rhetoricians demanded. The 
new claimant for a place in the sun was Pingali Suranna. 

Pingali Suranna was a Niyogi Brahmin of Apastamba 
Sutra. His family was originally resident at Pingali, a petty 
village in Kistna District. The poet attached himself to the 
court of Krishna Razu (a contemporary of Sadasivaraya, 

6 



78 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

the successor of Krishnadevaraya) of Nandayal. Pingali 
Suranna 's first work which brought him fame was Raghava 
Pandavlya a ' Dvanda Kavya ' in which each verse is capa- 
ble of giving two meanings, one applicable to the story 
of Rama and the other to the story of the Mahabharata 
and the whole poem carrying the double story continuously. 
Pingali Suranna and Ramaraja Bhushana may be said to 
be the pioneers of this kind of literary development, known 
as * Slesha ' Kavya. Compared with Vasucharitra^ Raghava 
Pandavlya has one merit, rare in this type of composition 
namely, grace and simplicity of style. It is a tribute to the 
genius of Suranna that he was able to compose a Dvanda 
Kavya which is at once simple and natural an achievement 
unapproached by subsequent writers. A peculiarity of this 
book is that the poet has departed from the time-honoured 
custom of describing his family history in the introduction. 
Muddiraju Ramanna wrote a commentary on Raghava 
Pandavlya in the sixteenth century. Next, in order, comes 
Kaldpurnodaya, by common consent a unique produc- 
tion in Telugu literature. We have already noticed that 
the Puranic writers followed a Sanskrit original, and the 
kavya writers a Puranic episode. A purely imaginary 
story never was the theme of a great poet. Indeed, the 
author of Vasucharitra condemns kavyas based upon stories 
of imagination, as 'inferior diamonds.' Suranna, in the 
face of the literary traditions of the day, chose for his Kala- 
purnodaya a story of his own invention. Rambha, the 
most beautiful of celestial damsels, proud of her beauty, 
boasts that she is peerless and unconquerable and that none 
can separate her from her lover, Nalakubera. Narada, the 
wanderer in the heavens, foretells her fall, and prophesies 
that a false Rambha and Nalakubera will rise, to confound 
her pride. Kalabhashini and Manikandhara are destined to 
play the part of the * double ' to Rambha and Nalakubera. 
The rest is a comedy of errors. Kalabhashini falls in love 
with Nalakubera and Manikandhara with Rambha. Mani- 
kandhara assumes the form of Nalakubera, and attracts 
Rambha to himself. Kalabhashini assumes the form of 
Rambha and is attracted by Nalakubera. The false and the 
real meet in a maze of errors. The spell is broken, everybody 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 79 

realises his folly and makes amends. In the centre of the 
plot are Krishna and his seraglio, and in the background are 
Kali worshippers with dark hints of human sacrifices, 
and Malayali magicians with mystic garlands and strange 
spells. A noticeable feature of this work is that the 
writer altogether discards slesha. 

Prabhdvati Pradyumna is the last of Suranna's 
works the fruit of maturer years. In the previous work 
we observe that the story is novel, while the treatment 
follows the traditional path of the kavya; whereas in 
Prabhdvati Pradyumna the theme is Puranic, as in the 
kavyas, but the treatment is original. Vajranabha is a 
Daitya, an enemy of Devas. He is very powerful, and by 
virtue of his tapas becomes invincible. He resides in a 
city inaccessible to men and gods. Taking advantage of 
his invulnerable position, he conquers the three worlds and 
imperils the position of Indra, who seeks the help of 
Krishna to achieve the downfall of the wicked Vajranabha. 
How to conquer him whom gods have made invulnerable 
this is the problem of the gods. See how the divine 
plotter sets about. Swans are neither gods nor men, and 
can find entrance into Vajranabha's territory. On this 
hangs the plot. The Daitya king has a beautiful daughter, 
Prabhavati. The wily swan, so useful to the Indian poet, 
creates in Prabhavati a love for Pradyumna, son of Krishna. 
The daughter of Daityas in love with the son of Devas, 
parents sworn to eternal enmity forms the good old 
situation. The artful swan sings the praises of a dramatic 
troupe of Bhadra, far famed in Devaloka. Pradyumna is 
smuggled with the troupe into the capital of the Daitya 
king. There follow love scenes, political intrigues ; the 
father is killed, and the daughter is married. 

In order to measure the greatness of Pingali Suranna 
and the literary value of his kavyas, it is necessary to 
realise how far he has risen above the limitation of the 
times. The poet has endeavoured, though not with complete 
success, to escape the allurements of the kavya type of 
literature, then rendered irresistible by the striking successes 
of^a procession of great poets. The besetting sin of the 
kavya literature is that it detaches art from life. The 



80 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

characters of the play are so many pegs to hang elaborate 
descriptions upon. There is neither life, development nor 
denouement. Suranna clearly perceived the approaching 
doom of the kavya, and has sought to inspire the decaying 
movement with life. Following the master-dramatists of 
Sanskrit, Kalidasa and Bana, he infused a strong dramatic 
interest into the kavya. As we follow him our attention is 
attracted to the plot and its beauty, not to the poet and his 
dexterity, as in the kavyas. Suranna creates and evolves ; 
his characters are life-like, their movements spontaneous, 
their conversations natural and the situations tense and vivid. 
Unlike the kavya writers, who invariably follow the chrono- 
logical sequence of events, Suranna plunges into the middle 
of the plot, and makes his characters relate the story. 
Prabhavati Pradyumna opens with a beautiful descrip- 
tion of Dwarka, seen in the haze and glow of the morning 
sun, from the vimana or flying chariot of Indra high in the 
sky. Pingali Suranna's chief title to fame is that he made 
a great effort (consciously or unconsciously) to turn the 
flood-tide of kavya into drama not that he succeeded 
altogether, but he came very near success. He gave us 
two kavyas, unique in Telugu literature, which combine 
the learning of Peddana and the dramatic interest of 
Kalidasa and Bana. It is interesting to note that this poet 
was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and his two plays 
recall to memory the two dramas of Shakespeare 
Kalapiirnodaya, the Comedy of Errors ; and Prabhavati 
Pradyumna^ Romeo and Juliet. 

Ramaraja Bhushana, as his name indicates, adorned 
the court of Ramaraya. The son-in-law of Krishnadevaraya, 
he seems to have served his apprenticeship under 
Peddana, and keenly followed the literary career of Pingali 
Suranna. By the time the poet started his literary life, 
Manucharitra was the praise of the literati of the day, and 
Rdghava Pdndaviya was the talk of critics. This 
inspired him with an ambition to take the public by storm 
with a work which would eclipse the fame of Peddana and 
Suranna. He concentrated in his work on the reproduction 
of the descriptive excellence of Peddana, and the slesha 
novelty introduced by Suranna. In this the poet succeeded 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 81 

beyond all expectations and his Vasucharitra became the 
model for the poets who followed him. The rehabilitation 
of Pingali Suranna is the achievement of modern literary 
criticism. Tradition makes Ramaraja Bhushana the hero 
of the kavya stage, and in the opinion of many conservative 
critics, the pupil is regarded as having excelled his master. 

For a prabandha, the theme must be a well-known 
Puranic story. It will be realised that in such a case the 
freedom of the poet is considerably restricted, as he has to 
adapt himself to the framework given to him, and his 
imagination can be exercised only within the limitations of 
the general outline of the story. This is obvious in the 
construction of Manucharitra. Ramaraja Bhushana strained 
at the leash. He wanted greater freedom than the selection 
of a Puranic story would permit. The new-born urge for 
freedom demanded not only liberty of expression and 
latitude in treatment, but complete freedom to shape the 
subject-matter of the story as well. On the other hand, he 
was not prepared to go to the extent of Pingali Suranna in 
discarding the Puranic story altogether. His own concep- 
tion of the kavya is stated thus : ' Purely imaginary stories 
are an inferior type of precious stones ; but borrowed 
themes make artificial diamonds. I should like to take a 
story neither famous nor purely imaginary; but one 
which is insignificant in itself, while permitting consider- 
able scope for improvement, like a rough precious stone 
which shines when cut and polished.' 

In pursuance of his own canon, the poet chose an insignifi- 
cant episode from the Bhdgavata Purana as the basis of his 
kavya. The incident chosen is the marriage of Garika, the 
daughter of Suktimati (a river), and Kolahala (a mountain), 
with the King Vasu rather a meagre plot. But Ramaraja 
Bhushana handled the theme with infinite skill, making an 
ingenious use of slesha. 

The supreme felicity with which he handles slesha, 
avoiding wooden artificiality on one side and sacrifice of 
sense for sound on the other, makes him a supreme artist 
of this school. But while he owns the same command of 
expression and felicity of phrase, his style lacks the 
simplicity of his illustrious colleague, Pingali Suranna. 



82 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The primary defect of V asucharilra a defect inherent 
in the kavya type of literature, but more apparent in Vasu- 
charitra than in Manucharitra is the over-elaboration of 
the descriptive element, which smothers the movement of 
the story, in itself very thin. Descriptions, delightful in 
themselves, stand out of relation to the immediate demands 
of the narrative. As one critic justly observes, ' Peddana 
strings his pearls into a necklace and throws it round the 
neck of Saras vati, while Ramaraja showers them loose 
and unstrung on her.' 

Ramaraja Bhushana had one advantage over his con- 
temporaries. He was himself a great and accomplished 
musician. This accounts for the symphony and cadence of 
his verse. There is not only a unique wedding of sound 
to sense, but also a sweet atmosphere of harmony about his 
poem. His poetry is song set to music. V asucharitra is 
a gem of art. Ramaraja Bhushana composed also another 
kavya known as Harischandra Nalopakhydna. In it he 
tells simultaneously the adventures of Nala and the suffer- 
ing of Harischandra, in verse capable of yielding both 
stories. 

There is another book, Narasabhupaliya, about whose 
authorship critical opinion is divided. Some are of opinion 
that this is the work of Ramaraja Bhushana, while others 
attribute it to a poet called Bhattumurti. Two facts are 
clear: (1) that Bhattumurti wrote Narasabhupallya, and 
(2) that Ramaraja Bhushana wrote Harischandra Nalo- 
pakhydna and Vasucharitra. The question that has 
given rise to the controversy is, whether they are different 
poets, or different names of the same poet. Ramaraja 
Bhushana is an honorific title, meaning the ornament of 
Ramaraja's court ; while Bhattumurti is a natural name. 
Contemporary writers have regarded them as the name and 
title of the same person. Internal evidence tends to the 
same conclusion. But the genealogies given in the books 
slightly differ. This is not fatal to the theory of iden- 
tity. 

The suggestion that the author was given in adoption 
to another family accounts for the difference in genealogy. 
Sound critical opinion inclines in favour of Bhattumurti and 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 83 

Ramaraja Bhushana being the same person. Narasa- 
bhupallya is a treatise on rhetoric in verse. It is a Telugu 
rendering of Prataparudrlya. 

Tenali Ramakrishna. An enigmatic figure of the time 
was Ramakrishna, who was attached to the court of Venkat- 
apati Raya, one of the Vijayanagar kings, who changed the 
capital of the empire to Chandragiri. Ramalinga r as he was 
originally called, is said to have been a Saivite by birth and 
wrote in his youth the Linga Purdna. However, he be- 
came a convert to Vaishnavism, and changed his name to 
Ramakrishna. He is known to posterity, not so much as a 
poet, but as a court jester, whose practical jokes, witty 
sallies and resourceful pranks have been ever since the 
chief w source of mirth in family circles all through 
the Andhra country. He is generally regarded as a 
mediaeval court jester, with a dash of the ' Charlie Chaplin ' 
in him. He was the contemporary of Tatachari and 
Appiah Dikshit, protagonists of Vaishnavism and aivism 
respectively. Ramakrishna was never so happy as when 
he made the life of the orthodox Tatachari miserable with 
his practical jokes. The saving grace of humour often 
stood him in good stead, as it saved him from the wrath of 
his royal master, who was himself not infrequently the 
victim of his irrepressible humour. 

As a poet he reveals altogether a new personality; 
serious, pious and devotional. His great work, Pdndu- 
ranga Mahdtmya, contains a legendary account of a 
shrine of Vishnu as Panduranga, at Pandharpur, conse- 
crated by the ministration of Saint Pantfarika. A Brahmin, 
Nigama Sarma, who wasted his life in dissipation and 
debauchery, breathed his last at Pandharpur. A con- 
troversy ensues between the servants of Yama and the 
servants of Vishnu ; the former were anxious to carry him 
to hell, as he lived a wicked life, and the latter claimed him 
for heaven, as he died in that sacred place. Of course, 
the verdict was in favour of the servants of Vishnu. 
Ramakrishna's work is a kavya of high merit, remarkable 
for its sonorous dignity of phrasing, and is justly counted 
as one of the Pancha Mahd Kdvyas (the Five Great 
Kavyas). 



84 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

OTHER WRITERS 

Minor poets belonging to the second half of the sixteenth century 
A.D., who deserve mention, are : 

(1) and (2) Addamki Gangadhara, who wrote Tapatlsamvarana ; 
and Ponnikanti Telaganarya, author of Yayati Charitra, a pure 
Telugu work. Special interest attaches to these books, as they are the 
only kavyas in Telugu literature dedicated to a Muhamniadan ruler, 
Ibrahim Mulk, the fourth son of Kutumb Shah, one of the Bahmam kings, 
who ruled over Golkonda between A.D. 1512 and 1543. On the death of 
his father, Ibrahim Mulk incurred the displeasure of his elder brother, 
and sought refuge under Krishnadevaraya. He was very fond of 
Telugu literature and was a patron of the poets Gangadhara and 
Telaganarya, who were attached to his court. 

(3) Sarungu Timmanna, the Madhva poet, who wrote Vaijayanti 
Vilasa or Vipranarayana Charitra, which is a story of a 
Vaishnava bhakta, whom two sisters of the prostitute class, Madhura- 
vani and Devadevi, tried to seduce from his chastity and almost 
succeeded, when Vishnu stretched forth his hand to save him. Chadala- 
vada Malliah, a descendant of Errapragada, one of the Kavitraya, also 
put this story into verse in 1585. 

(4) Turaga Ramakavi earned the unenviable notoriety of being 
the master of vituperative verse, and was counted as one of the 
' cursing poets,' whose maledictions were more effective than bene- 
dictions. _He dedicated his work, Nagara Khanda, to a rich goldsmith 
named Markamdeya. 

(5) Tarigopulla Mallana, author of Chandrabhanu Charitra 
(1586-1614), was attached to the court of Venkatapati Raya. The 
story is about the marriage of Chandrabhan, the son of Krishna, with 
Kumudim, the daughter of Rukmabahti. The poet was a Madhva. 

(6) Kamsali Rudrakavi (A.D. 1620- ), a goldsmith by caste, author 
of a high-class kavya, Nirankusopakhyana. 

The period under survey presents kavya literature at 
its best. In the hands of the Ashtadiggajas, the classic 
exponents of this type, it became an indigenous movement 
of great originality. The kavya literature could have 
given us (if its early promises had been redeemed) what 
Telugu literature very much lacks a nature-school and a 
psychological school of poetry. It has, in fact, given to our 
poets a splendid opportunity for self-expression and for the 
display of individual ability. The kavya stands for a vivid 
portrayal of men and nature, a profound study of character 
and emotion, and for artistic decoration and choice orna- 
mentation. In technique, it marks an endeavour to extract 
from the Telugu language a new music. Symphony was its 
soul. 



THE PERIOD OF THE PRABANDHAS 85 

The defects of the kavya literature are stamped on its 
face. It is artificial and ornate, with a complicated tech- 
nique. If it is to be effective, it involves a delicate balance 
of its component parts, a just sense of proportion, and, 
above all, a capacity for restraint, which is rarely to be 
found in any but great masters. It is a complicated 
machine, so nicely balanced that none but experts can handle 
it. Pingali Suranna was correct when he diagnosed the 
condition of kavya as ' suffering from creeping paralysis,' 
and pronounced that it could only be saved by an infusion 
of new life, in the shape of dramatic interest. Unfortu- 
nately, Suranna had no followers. 



VIII 

THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 
A.D. 1630-1850 

THE battle of Talikota (1565) is as jnuch a literary as an 
historical landmark in the life of the Andhras. It marked 
the disintegration of the empire founded by Krishnadeva- 
raya, and ' the beginning of the end ' of the literary move- 
ments inaugurated by him. The Kavya movement outlived 
his political downfall for nearly half a century ; as the poets, 
born and trained during the spacious days of the emperor- 
poet, continued to inspire the movement and maintain it 
on the same high level. But from the third decade of the 
seventeenth century, up to the beginning of the twentieth, it 
is one long night. During this period we find versifiers 
innumerable, but poets few ; literary output enormous, but 
quality very poor. There is a thick growth of rank 
vegetation, but hardly a noble tree showing itself. It 
is an age of stagnation and deterioration. The single 
, redeeming feature of the situation is the extension of the 
field of Telugu literature to the South. The new literary 
output came from Tanjore, Madura, Pudukkota and Mysore, 
and it was marked by distinguishing features of its own. As 
it stands in clear contrast to the main current, the Northern 
school, it has been designated as the Southern school. 

The primary causes for the steady decline of the Northern 
school were : 

1. The Disintegration of the Empire of Vijaya- 
nagar into petty palayams under chieftains incompetent to 
direct any literary movement, since they themselves 
possessed very little culture or education. Petty patrons 
beget petty poetry. The poets consequently lack inspira- 
tion, vision, vital energy and true ambition. 



THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 87 

2. The Dictatorship of the Grammarian and 
Rhetorician. The great poets of the Purana Yuga were 
the creators of grammar and rhetoric. The poets of the 
kavya age were superior to these secondary arts. It is 
otherwise with the writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries. The kavya poetry involved a poetic architecture 
so technical and complicated that the poet had to be 
apprenticed to the rhetorician in order to learn the new craft. 
The free spirit of poetry was harnessed by the rhetorician, 
and the literature suffered under the cramping influence 
of the 'regulative science.' This accounts for the lack 
of freedom and spontaneity and for the dull mediocrity 
of all poetic effort. 

3. The Inherent Vices of the Kavya Style. The 
kavya is the worst literary mode for imitation; and 
imitation was in the blood of the Telugu poets. The 
virtues of kavya are hidden, and its weaknesses glitter 
on the surface. The imitator caught the latter and 
missed the former. In its technique, apparently (though 
not in reality) art was divorced from life. Kavya em- 
phasised description, and description in turn depended 
on simile and hyperbole (upamdna utprekshd). Simile 
requires an insight into nature and a gift of imagination, if 
it is to be original and striking ; while hyperbole, to be 
pleasing, has to be handled with discretion and restraint. 
The great masters, while they seemed to be engrossed with 
the technique, really kept an eye on life. Their imitators 
did not catch this art. They lost touch with nature. They 
borrowed not only art but also life from the Ashtadiggajas. 1 
The result was that the range of ideas and the nature of 
ornamentation became stereotyped. The only avenue 
possible for individual distinction lay in extravagance and 
aberration. The similes became far-fetched, pointless and 
abstruse. Hyperbole degenerated into unmeasured exagge- 
ration. One poet said that the turrets of the city seemed 
to kiss the sky. Another went a step further and imagined 
that they pierced the vault. Yet a third outstripped these, 
describing them as emerging in the court of Indra! 

1 See above, p. 72. 



88 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Ornamentation was another source of degradation. Nothing- 
is so easy, yet nothing is such bad taste, as overdoing 
or parading ornamentation. Slesha, alliteration, chitra, 
kavitva, 1 if occasionally resorted to, add to the beauty 
and excite interest ; but as the sole basis for a kavya, they 
are in execrable taste. 

The literature of this period, in consequence, moves in 
one dead level of mediocrity, and monotony is the dominant 
note. The endless procession of kavyas, one resembling 
the other, tire the eye. The old Puranic stories are told 
and retold with prolixity and verbosity. Thought becomes 
stagnant and the same similes and ideas appear again and 
again in new garbs. But for the incomparable grace and 
melody of the language, the poet resembles the ' club bore,' 
who inflicts on his unhappy victim his favourite story for 
the hundredth time. The only features which attract our 
attention are the aberrations, which, strangely enough, meet 
with the approval of the critics. 

The deviations from the norm may be classified under the following 
heads : 

1. Slesha Kavyas. The author of Vasucharitra, by producing 1 
a Dvanda kavya 2 a novel type of literary effort created false tastes 
and diverted poetic energy into new but unprofitable channels. Vasu- 
charitra became the measure of learning and the test of poetic 
excellence. This gave rise to a crop of imitations, some possessing the 
merits of Vasucharitra, others managing to reproduce all its defects 
but none of its excellence. Abbana Matya's Kavi Raja Manoranjana 
(1780), Surakavi's Kavi Jana Ranjana (1780), Krishna Kavi's 
Sakuntala Parinaya (1799), and Chamakura Venkata Kavi's Vijaya 
Vilasa, though not slesha kavyas, fall under the former category. 
Kuchimanchi Timmanna's Rasika Janobhirdma, Poduri Peda Rama 
Matya's Sivaramabhyudaya, Suryaprakasa Kavi's Krishnarjuna 
Charitra (1850) fall under the latter. The last two are Dvanda kavyas. 

Yet others, in an effort to excel, produced poems capable of telling 
three stories simultaneously. These poems attempt to tell the stories 
of Rama and Krishna and the Pandavas, and combine the Ramayana, 
the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata. Of these the following deserve 
mention. : 

(1) Elakuchi BalasarasVati, Raghava Yadava Pandaviya. 

(2) Nelluri Raghavakavi, Yadava Raghava Pandaviya. 

(3) Ayyagari Vlrabhadrakavi, Raghava Yadava Pandaviya. 

(4) Origanti Somasekhara Kavi, Ramakrishnarjuna Narayamya. 

1 See p. 89. 2 See p. 78. 



THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 89 

This type of literature is not easy to write ; it demands infinite 
resource, phenomenal command of language, and extraordinary ingen- 
uity. But the very restrictions under which the author had to work 
forbade any poetic quality of a high order. Though looked upon at 
the time as high-class literature, it does not appeal to modern tastes. 

2. Pure Telugu Poetry. There is in the modern Telugu lan- 
guage only a residuum of original Telugu. This Dravidian basis is so 
little that it is not adequate for the composition of even a few verses. If 
only Sanskrit equivalents are excluded and the rest regarded as pure 
Telugu, it may be possible, with some difficulty, to compose an all- 
Telugu kavya. Poets of the first period, as a curiosity, used to 
introduce an occasional stanza or two containing pure Telugu words 
a feat much appreciated by the readers. 

Ponnikanti Telaganarya (1578) made an attempt at opening 
a new field, by composing his Yayati Charitra, a kavya of five cantos, 
in pure Telugu, avoiding Sanskritisms as far as possible. Curiously 
enough, he was able to produce a very readable book of considerable 
merit. Others followed, but not with the same amount of success. 
Adidamu Bala Bhaskara's Ramayana (not now available), Kuchi- 
manchi Timmanna's Ramayana and Nllasundara Parinaya belong 
to this order. 

These works are more or less of the nature of a tour de force. 
The language, involving tiresome circumlocution, is unintelligible even 
to the pandit. They are like letters written in cypher, unmeaning 
without a key. In Tamil and in English, the desire to exclude foreign 
words came in the wake of a purist tendency and was partly the out- 
come of genuine patriotism. It was not so in Telugu. These writings 
owe their origin to a frantic effort, on the part of the poet, to hold the 
flickering attention of his audience by doing something out of the way. 
These laborious products of misplaced zeal, never read (in fact, not 
even readable), may be consigned to the literary museum as momentoes 
of an antiquarian age. 

3. Chitra and Bhanda Kavitva. Slesha kavyas and 
' Accha Telugu ' works may be considered as literature, though not of 
a high order. The same cannot be said of developments in other 
directions, euphemistically called ' fancy poetry,' but really a type 
of freak literature. 

Some poets have composed kavyas excluding labials. Kottalanka 
Mrutyumjaya Kavi's Nala Charitra and Marimganti Simgara- 
charlu's Dasaratha Raja Nandana Charitra are instances. Others 
attempted fantastic combinations and produced pure Telugu, non- 
labial and ' all- verse ' kavyas. Poets are not wanting who carried their 
self-denial further still and eschewed gutturals along with labials. 
Extremists of this school discarded the first twenty letters of the 
alphabet and used only the apanchavargiya, i.e., the last five letters. 
Kanada Peddana Somayaji perpetuated this monstrosity in his Sesha 
Sailesa Llla. The climax of this form of lunacy was reached when 
stanzas were written in a single letter. Ganapavarapu Venkatakavi 
and Gudaru Venkatadasakavi are said to have scaled the heights 
of perfection in this art. 



90 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Another variety of chitra kavitva is known as Garbha and 
Bhanda Kavitva. The former involves introduction of stanzas of 
one metre within another of a different type ; the latter consists in 
fitting short poems into geometrical figures such as serpencs 
and chariots. 

It is difficult to appreciate the tastes of an age that applauded these 
tongue-twisters and tumblers as poets of merit. 

PROMINENT POETS 

Seventeenth Century Poets. We have already mentioned 
some of these in connection with slesha and chitra kavitva. Very few 
poets of merit are found between A.D. 1630 and 1700. Elakuchi Bala- 
saras" vatl, a learned scholar who obtained the title of Mahamahopadhaya, 
composed a drama called Rahga-Kaumudi. Hari Bhat, about the 
middle of the seventeenth century, wrote Varaha and Matsya Puranas ; 
Kakamani Murti, often confounded with Bhattumurti, is regarded as 
combining in his style the excellences of Peddana, Timmana and Rama- 
krishna. He was the author of Panchali Parinaya, Raja Vahana- 
vijaya and Bahulasva Charitra. Nutanakavi Suranna, towards 
the close of the century, wrote Dhanabhi Ramamu and a drama, 
Vishnu Maya Vilasa. Dhanabhi Ramamu embodies the beautiful 
story of a contest between Manmadha, god of beauty, and Kubhera, 
god of wealth, as to which of these commands the hearts of men. 

Eighteenth Century Poets. Paidimarri Venkatapati opens 
the century with Chandrahgada Charitra. Kuchimanchi Timmanna, 
known as Abhinava Vaganus'asana, wrote many kavyas, of which 
Rukmani Parinaya, Rajasekhara Vilasa, Ballana Charitra may be 
mentioned. 

Vakkalanda Virabhadranna, who adapted two stories from 
Sanskrit writers, Vasavadatta Parinaya and Gourl Kalyana is 
mentioned with evident appreciation and respect by contemporary 
writers. One satirist, Kuchimanchi Jaggakavi, and two Christian poets, 1 
Mangalagiri Anandakavi, author of Vedanta Rasayana, and Pingaji 
Ellanaryundu, who wrote Tobhya Charitra, flourished about the 
same time. The first half of the century closes with Enugu 
Lakshmanakavi, who wrote Rama Vilasa and translated into Telugu 
Subhashita Ratnavali. 

In the second half of the century, Adidamu Surakavi (1780), author 
of Kavi Jana Ranjatia, popularly known as Pilla Vasucharitra ; 
Kanuparti Abbanamatya, author of Anuruddha Charitra and Kavi 
Raja Manoranjana, generally regarded as the best book after 
Vasucharitra ; and Dittakavi Narayana, who celebrated in verse 
the Bobbili war between the Raja of Vijayanagar and the French 
in Northern Circars in 1756, are conspicuous. 

Nineteenth Century Poets. Besides those already referred 
to, the following may be mentioned : 

1. Pindiproli Lakshmanakavi, author of Ravana Dommiyamu, or 
Lanka Vijaya, (1840- ). 

1 See below, pp. 105 ff. 



THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 91 

2. Shistu Krishnamurti, a scholar of considerable learning in 
Sanskrit, also a musician of considerable ability. He was good at 
extempore composition and was exceedingly popular as a reader of 
Puranas. He wrote Sarva Kamada Parinaya and many other 
works. 

3. Mada Bhashi Venkatacharlu was an intellectual prodigy. It is 
said that he could repeat anything that was read to him twice > 
upside down. He composed Bharatdbhyudaya. 

4. Gopinatha Venkatakavi (1850) was the author of a trans- 
lation of Valmlki Ramayana, Sisupala Vadha and Bhaghavatgita. 

5. Sonti Bhadradri Ramagastri (I860) composed Chitra Sltna, an 
original production in verse on the lines of Pingali Suranna's Kala- 
Purnodaya, a commentary to Ahobaltya and Srirama Sataka. 

THE SOUTHERN SCHOOL 

Krishnadevaraya appointed deputies for each of the 
southern countries he had conquered. On the fall of 
the empire of Vijayanagar, they became independent rulers 
of the countries under their control. The task of consoli- 
dation took a good part of the century. Their political 
position secured, they were able to turn their attention 
to the peaceful arts of literature. It is fortunate that the 
viceroys appointed by Krishnadevaraya were, like himself, 
imbued with a taste for literature, and their descendants 
turned out to be great patrons of art,_zealous of their mother- 
tongue and anxious to conserve Andhra culture for the 
colonists. The Southern school was born in a praiseworthy 
effort to transplant the home culture into the country of 
their adoption. The literature of the South belongs, partly, 
to the seventeenth and mostly to the eighteenth centuries 
A.D. The contributions came from Tanjore, Madura, 
Puddukota and Mysore. 

1. Tanjore. Chavva Raju was the chief appointed for 
Tanjore by Krishnadevaraya. His son, Achyuta Nayak, had 
for his minister Govinda Dikshit, a Telugu pandit of great 
learning. It was in the court of Raghunatha (1630-40), 
son of Achyuta, that the first-fruits of the new harvest were 
gathered. The king himself composed a prose kavya, 
Valmlki Charitra. Chamakura Venkatakavi, who was 
attached to the court, gave to the world Sarangadhara and 
Vijaya Vildsa. The former of these two is admired for 
the vivid, tragic interest of the theme and the impressive 



92 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

realism of the art ; the latter is, perhaps, the last work of 
real merit in Telugu literature. It has been described as 
a heap of precious gems. The polish of the language, the 
delicacy of sentiment, and the melody of verse combine in 
this poet as in no other. His style is so uniquely his own 
that a new name had to be coined to express its quality and 
it was called after his surname, ' Chamakurapaka ' 
Chamakura being also the succulent Indian curry. It is 
probable, though not certain, that Kavi Choudappah a 
moralist who stands next to Vemana and Sumati, among 
Sataka writers belonged to this period. 

Later, Muddupalani, a courtesan of Pratapa Sinha, of Tan- 
jore (1765), composed in Telugu a kavya under the name 
Radhika Svantam. Kasturi Ranga Kavi dedicated his Ran- 
gara Chandamu to Ananda Rangapillai. But the greatest 
gift of Tanjore to the Andhra literature is Tyagaraja, the 
hymnologist and musician whose songs are sung all over 
South India. 

2. Madura. But it is in the eighteenth century and in the 
court of Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha, the king of Madura, a 
descendant of Nigama Nayak, appointed by Krishnadeva- 
raya, that we find the Southern school in full bloom. Visva- 
natha Nayak, father of Chokkanatha, is said to have brought 
many learned pandits from the north, and gave them gifts 
of land, thus inducing them to settle in the south. The 
fruits of Visvanatha's foresight were reaped by his son, 
Chokkanatha, who set a good example by rendering into 
prose Sriranga Mahdtya. Of the group of poets whose 
literary output not only constitutes the bulk of Southern 
Telugu literature but also gives the tone to the movement, 
Samukha Venkata Krishnappa Nayak has to his credit not 
less than four books, of which Jaimini Bharata, in prose, 
may be taken as an example of the high level of literary value 
attained by the Southern school. Ahalya Samkrandana, 
Sdrangadhara Charitra and Radhika Svantam are his 
other kavyas. They belong, every one of them, to the 
erotic type. Sesham Venkatapati's Tarasasanka belongs 
to the same order. The other works of the period are of 
a religious type. Syatnakavi is the author of Rdmdyana 
in Vachana, Tupakula Ananta Raju composed Vishnu 



THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 93 

Purdna and Bhdgavatgltd. Sumati Ramabhadra Kavi 
wrote Hdldsyd Mahdtya and Velagapudi Krishna Kavi, 
Veddnta Sara. 

3. Puddukota. Puddukota's contribution under Raja 
Raghava Tondaman (1767-89) takes the shape of 
dictionaries and anthologies among other things, of which 
Nudurupati Venkatanaryudu's Andhra Bhdshdrnava de- 
serves mention. His son is responsible for Bilhamya. 

4. Mysore. Viraraju (1650-1700), whose Bhdrata is 
perhaps the earliest extant instance of a prose kavya, and 
Nanja Raju, a minister of the!; 'Mysore king, author of 
Linga Purdna and Hdldsya Mahdtya, represent the 
contribution from Mysore. 

A bare description of the literature of the period throws 
into prominence some characteristic features of this school. 

1. The chief merit of the Southern school is the dis- 
covery of prose. During the Puranic period we find Nanniah, 
the first of the Kavitraya, using prose which is simple and 
clear ; but Tikkanna seemed to have scorned any resort to 
prose in his Nirvachanottara Rdmdyana, an example which 
had some following. Prose is used as a literary device by 
the classic writers, partly as a ' pause/ to relieve the strain 
of composition, and partly to traverse portions of the story 
more rapidly with a view to economy. Writers who follow 
the Kavitraya, especially Nachana Soma, and Potana, the 
author of a Bhdgavata, employ a prose style which is 
afflicted with all the infirmities of poetic composition com- 
plexity, over-ornamentation, slesha and yamaka. 

The unique distinction of the Southern school is that it 
has realised that prose is as valuable and as useful a medium 
of literary expression as verse. The extensive use of 
prose was to a large extent dictated by the necessities of 
the case. The third and fourth generation of Telugus in 
a Tamil country are not likely to have possessed sufficient 
education to understand the prabandha or even epic poetry. 
If, then, culture was to be retained at all, it had to 
be conveyed through a medium not altogether beyond the 
comprehension of the average educated man. Prose was 
obviously such a medium. Nevertheless, the high artistic 
value and the relatively important place assigned to prose 

7 



94 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

by the writers themselves, show that they understood its 
function and possibilities. Jaimini Bhdrata is a work of 
art, regarded by its author himself as of equal importance 
with Sarangadhara. 

2. Secondly, the deliberate and decidedly more extensive 
use of the drama is another feature of the Southern school. 
During the first three centuries the Northern school did not 
produce more than two dramas of any importance, and even 
these do not occupy a noticeable position in the literature of 
the times. But, according to a recent writer, the dramas of the 
Southern school, during the eighteenth century alone, exceed 
twenty in number. Doubtless none of them were of any 
acknowledged literary value. But that is also the case with 
the Northern school. Here again the use_of the drama may 
have been adopted in order to bring the Andhra culture to 
those who had not even the capacity to understand prose. 
In any case, in one century, the Southern school produced 
more dramas than the Northern school in the course of 
eight centuries of its existence. 

3. The most arresting feature of the Southern school is 
the absence of ethical principles. To whatever causes we 
may attribute it, the fact is undeniable that the Southern 
school is essentially immoral. This is brought out by the 
examination of a characteristic feature of the literature of 
this period. Excluding directly religious topics, there 
is hardly a poet, whether of the Northern or Southern 
school, who did not write a kavya dealing with the marriage 
of the heroes of the Puranas. We may say that ninety 
per cent, of the books deal with Parinaya, Kalyana or 
Vivaria. This preoccupation with the question of marriage 
is the central fact of interest. The mystery of sexual 
attraction has always been the theme of the poet and the 
painter. But the way in which they deal with it is 
indicative of the culture of the age. The poets of the Purana 
Yuga deal with it with delicacy, reverence, and a sense of its 
spiritual significance. The hero wins his bride either in a 
contest of valour or on the battlefield. He seals his faith in 
the nobility of womanhood by risking his life. The writers 
of the kavya period fall far below the ideal. By stressing 
* Sringara Rasa,' they have impaired the subtle aroma of 



THE PERIOD OF STAGNATION 95 

social relations. Physical attractions are described with an 
elaborate minuteness and a wealth of detail repulsive to 
delicate feeling. Even the loves of gods, forbidden to the 
poets by the writers on poetics, are not immune from their 
prying attentions. 

The Northern school, even in its wildest excesses, never 
departs from the conventions of life. The sexual attraction 
finds its legitimate consummation in marriage, though 
marriage is regarded as the end rather than the beginning 
of all romance. 

But the Southern school stands in painful and humiliat- 
ing contrast to the Northern in this matter. The poets do 
not so much deal with marriage as with the violation of 
chastity. Their treatment of the problem recalls to the 
mind the unconventional modern schools of Shaw and 
Ibsen ; only they lack the earnestness of purpose or coherent 
philosophy of the modern schools ; and they are prurient, 
often putrid. These poets preach immorality as a creed, in 
kavya and drama, in prose and poetry, in song and story. 
The prominent works of this period are Sarangadhara, 
Tdrasasanka, Bilhanlya and Rddhikd Svdnta. The story 
in the first comes very near the tragedy of incest. 
Raja-Raja-Narendra takes for his wife, in his old age, one 
who cherishes in her heart a love for his son. Her 
advances are rejected by Sarangadhara. She, in turn, trumps 
up a false charge against him and throws him to the wolves. 
Tarasasanka is the story of Chandra's elopement with his 
guru's wife. Bilhanlya, a story which counts more than 
five authors, relates to the same theme in another aspect. 
King Madanabhirama appoints Bilhana to teach his 
daughter, Yamini Purna Tilaka. The teacher is beautiful 
and the daughter young, and to prevent complication he tells 
his daughter that the teacher is born blind and informs the 
teacher that his pupil is a leper. A curtain separates the 
teacher from the pupil. But, one day Bilhana describes 
the rising moon and gives away the show. The result is 
not marriage but free love. It is the same with the literary 
stories of the period. Suka Saptati and Hamsavimsati 
relate the artful way in which society women violated 
their marital vows. 



96 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

It is easy to dismiss the whole outlook as immoral 
putrifaction. But when we set the Southern against the 
Northern school, it is difficult to escape the conviction that 
some social upheaval has thrown into relief the problem of 
sexual relations, which the Northern school deals in a 
.conventional, and the Southern in an unconventional, way. 
As we read we are led to ask ' Is it pruriency or philo- 
sophy ? ' or, ' Is the problem of the " eternal triangle " not 
quite so modern as we sometimes suppose ? ' 



IX 
POPULAR LITERATURE 

THE impulse for the translation of Sanskrit epics and 
Puranas, with which Telugu literature begins, had its roots 
in a religious movement to spread the Aryan culture among 
the people. This was achieved to a very limited extent 
only, because the tone and style of Champu Kavya was 
beyond the comprehension of the masses, even when read 
to them. So it remained essentially the literature of the 
educated. With the growth of time, the divergence be- 
tween the literary and popular language became very 
marked. Literature became the exclusive possession of a 
select few, of considerable learning. The poet ceased to 
write even for the educated, but only for the pandit. The 
problem of bringing to the average man the heritage of the 
past was, however, not left unsolved. The desideratum of 
a popular literature, in a country where the generality of 
society is illiterate, is a simplicity of style and substance, 
an appealing rhythm, an easy swing of movement, which 
renders what is heard easily memorized. The new literary 
vehicles for the dissemination of knowledge among the 
people were found in Dvipada and Sataka. Dvipada means 
two feet, i.e., a couplet; sataka means a hundred, that is 
a cento of verses. Though primarily literary forms, they 
have by association come to signify a type of literature 
intended for popular use, different and distinguishable from 
the epic and the kavya. When released from the necessity 
of translating from Sanskrit, the Telugu poet naturally 
turned to these two modes as most suitable to his native 
genius, and best adopted for self-expression. 

Dvipada Literature. Nanniah employed a metre called 
taruwja, which consisted of two easily separable halves, 



98 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

balanced by a central pause. We may say that the lines 
almost invite the reader to bisect them. If we do so and 
arrange the two halves one below the other, we get some- 
thing like dvipada. It is necessary to observe both Yati 
and Prase? for dvipada. In flexibility and simplicity it 
resembles the anushtupa metre in Sanskrit. 

The three great epics have been put into dvipada : 

Valmlki Ramayana, by Buddha Razu. 

Ramayana, by Ranganatha. 

Uttara Ramayana> by Kachavibhudu and Vittal Raju. 

Bharata, by Timmakavi. 

Bhagavata, by Koneru Kavi. 

Srinatha's Palnati Vira Charitra is in this metre. 
Palakuriki Somanatha and Madiki Simganna are among 
other writers in this field. 

Sataka Literature. From about the twelfth century 
onwards, we have a broadening stream of satakas, forming 
a parallel movement to the kavya literature. It is estimated 
that there are about six hundred satakas so far recovered. 
Of these only a few are translations or adaptations ; the 
rest are original. 

There are some satakas in Telugu in which the hundred 
verses are divided into ten groups of ten verses 
each called dasakas. This dasaka division was probably 
adopted from Prakrit. However, the standard form con- 
sists of a hundred self -complete stanzas. The characteristic 
feature of the sataka is the makuta, or crown, that is, the 
last word of the stanza, which consists of the name of the 
person or the deity to whom the preceding lines are 
addressed. This makuta determines the metre to be 
employed and thus shapes the structure of the verse. 

The themes of the sataka are either outpourings of devo- 
tion or the teaching of moral truths ; occasionally, humorous 
reflections on current events and contemporary personalities. 
Of the six hundred satakas, more then three-fourths relate 
to religious and moral teachings. Saivites and Vaishnavites 
have resorted to the sataka, both for propagandist^ and 
devotional purposes. Almost all the great writers have one 

1 See p. 40. 



POPULAR LITERATURE 99 

or two satakas associated with their names. Sataka litera- 
ture had its beginning in the twelfth century, its zenith in the 
seventeenth, its widest range in the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth centuries. The earliest sataka we have is Vrisha- 
dipa Sataka, by Palakuriki Somanatha, in 1180. Of 
almost the same status is Sumati Sataka, whose authorship 
is not certain, though it is generally attributed to Peddana. 

Vemana is the prince of sataka writers. Vemana was an 
Advaitic mystic, a sannydst who has renounced the world. 
His birthplace is uncertain, though claims have been made 
for Kondavidu, in the Ceded Districts, and Katuru, a village 
where his tomb exists ; nor can we fix his date, even 
approximately. Various suggestions have been made, but 
none on convincing grounds. It is probable that he lived in 
the beginning of the fifteenth century. He is the greatest 
moral teacher of the Andhras. For well-nigh five centuries 
his Sataka has been the text-book of morals for Telugu 
boys, and a better book cannot be asked for. The Vemana 
Sataka is of a very high literary order. Each stanza is a 
casket containing a simple moral truth. The idea is never 
carried beyond a single stanza. The first two lines contain 
the picture, the next two state the moral. The order is 
sometimes reversed. Every truth is incarnated in a suitable 
figure, so apt and just that the mind finds it difficult to 
separate them. The verses are easily memorized and the 
rhythm lingers in the memory without effort. The Sataka 
embodies much practical wisdom, shrewd judgment, and 
kindly advice. It is interesting to note that one verse 
is a fairly literal translation of Matt. 5 : 43-44 1 and Luke 
6 : 33-35, and a third one embodies the Pauline injunction in 
Rom. 12 : 20, ' If thine enemy hungers, feed him.' 

Of devotional satakas, Sarvesvara Sataka, by Yadha 
Vakkula Annayya; Kalahastetvara Sataka, by Dhur- 
jati ; Dasarathi Sataka, by Kancherla Gopanna, the 
celebrated Rama Bhakta of Bhadrachellam and a disciple 



1 Matt. 5 : 43-44, ' Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say unto you, Love 
your enemies ; bless them that curse you ; do good to them that hate 
you.' 



100 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

of Kabir; and Kavi Choudappa Sataka are among the 
most popular. 

Allied to dvipada and sataka is dandaka, (rhapsody of 
praise), consisting of alliterative phrases permitting a rapid 
and impetuous outflow with a short prayer at the end. 
Composed in a single gana, the dandakas are half-sung, 
half-recited. Not infrequently, the dandakas relate to the 
majesty, power, and justice of the deity. Wonder, fear, 
and horror are the sentiments expressed. 

Sacred and Secular Music. In India, music is the 
handmaid of worship. Praises are sung, prayers are intoned, 
bhajans always performed to the accompaniment of musical 
instruments. Thus it happens that a considerable portion 
of popular devotional literature is intended to be sung, 
and is called geyamulu. This is not subject to the 
restraint of prosody, though it keeps to a rough measure. 
Klrians, kritts, harikathas belong to this order. 

The kirtans of Tyagaraja are of the highest spirituality. 
They breathe a spirit of fervid devotion, simple faith 
and reliance on Providence. Women, too, have contributed 
to this literature. Melukolupulu, Songs of the Dawn; 
Mangalahratuhi) Songs of Festivity ; Lalipatalu, Songs 
of the Cradle all contain much true poetry. 

There are in Telugu what are called Javalis (Songs of 
Love) which are looked down upon, as they are sung by 
public women. But, prejudice apart, the javalis merit being 
ranked as high-class poetry. Nowhere, in the whole 
region of Telugu literature, do we come across the secret 
longing of love so beautifully expressed. The kavya 
writers have debased Sringara Rasa by identifying it with 
the cruder erotic sentiment of physical attraction. In the 
javalis the same theme has received a more subtle, refined 
and delicate treatment. Here we find the aroma of longing, 
the alternate elation and dejection of lovers, set to soft 
music touched with pathos of a type now made familiar 
to the western reader in Tagore's Garde?ier. 

Prose. We have already seen that, in the South, prose 
has been extensively used as a medium of popular educa- 
tion. Another use for prose is found in devotional literature 
in the shape of vinnapamulu, or petitions, which resemble 



POPULAR LITERATURE 101 

the prayers in the Prayer Book of the Church of England, 
Some of them rise to a high level of thought and diction. 

It is much to be regretted that this popular literature 
has not received the attention it merits. Orthodox critics 
look down upon it as literature of an inferior class. This 
judgment will not be endorsed by the modern student. Most 
of it exists in the form of oral literature, not yet reduced 
to print. When the industry of the research scholar makes 
it available for the critic to sift and winnow, it will be found 
that this literature, scorned by the pandit, looked down upon 
by the learned, is the true heritage of the Andhras their 
characteristic contribution to the commonwealth of letters 
their true Gltdnjali. 



X 

WOMEN POETS 

IT is a pleasing reflection that there is no sex disqualifica- 
tion in the republic of letters. In the Telugu country, as 
elsewhere, Sarasvati is justified of her daughters. The 
condition of society, the prejudices of the age, and the 
customs of the country, no doubt made it difficult for women 
to obtain the recognition they merited. Nevertheless, 
Telugu literature has its women poets.. 

The influence of women on literature is greater than the 
number of women poets would lead us to expect. They 
were patrons of letters when in power, as in the case of 
Rudramma, the Kakatiya queen. In the humbler role of 
silent sympathisers and gentle critics, their kindly help 
has always been with us. Many a poet has found hope 
and encouragement in the knowledge that, invisible to the 
eye, somewhere behind the purdah, are ears straining to 
hear his poems. Tradition has handed down many 
memories of cultured women whose help has been the 
inspiration of our poets. 

There is a story of the Andhra king, Satavahana, who was 
asked by his wife in Sanskrit not to splash water on her 
while they were engaged in water sports. The king, 
ignorant of Sanskrit, understood the word modaka to 
mean sweetmeats. His ignorance raised a laugh against 
him. Stung by the reproach, he set himself to study and 
in due time became the author of Brihat Katha Manjari. 
The impression of high culture in the royal household 
finds confirmation in the conditions prevailing in Krishna- 
devaraya's zenana. 

Then, there is the well-known incident of Potana. While 
engaged in composing the B/tagavata> one day, he could 



WOMEN POETS 103 

not get the right line to finish a verse, try as he would. 
He left the manuscript with his daughter and went out, in 
the hope that inspiration might come in the open fields. 
He found, on his return, much to his surprise, the line 
correctly filled up. There is no need to invent a super- 
fluous miracle, as tradition has done, when we can easily 
see the timely helper in his daughter. 

Equally suggestive is the story of Pinaviranna and 
his Jaimini Bharata? There, again, we can easily guess 
that Sarasvati was not the goddess, but a lady friend of the 
poet, to whom we owe the Bharata, which we place 
to the credit of Pinaviranna. 

Of the women poets handed down to us by tradition, we 
may mention the following : 

1. Kuppamma, the daughter of Narayana Bhat, the 
friend and helper of Nanniah in his Vaidiki Movement, is 
said to have been a poetess of merit. 

2. Of the same name is the daughter of Budda Razu, 
(1230-40), collaborator with Ranganatha of Dvipada 
Ramayana,) who is said to have composed stanzas of touch- 
ing pathos about her own sorrows as a young widow 
which were incorporated by Ayyalaraju Ramabhadriah in his 
Sakala Katha Sara Sangraha in the context of Dama- 
yanti's sorrow when parted from her husband. 

3. Kummari Molla (1509-30), a potter-woman, is the 
author of the Molla Ramayana, which has taken its place 
among the standard works of our literature ; indeed, of all 
the RamayanaS) Molla's is the most widely read and popular. 
The general high level of her composition, as a whole, 
entitles her to be ranked with our best poets. 

4. Mohanangi, the daughter of Krishnadevaraya, is the 
author of a Sringara Prabandha, called Marlchi Parinaya, 
which she submitted in the full court to the criticism 
of the poets, who declared it to be a kavya of merit. 
Though the book is not now extant, its existence is well 
attested. That she was passionately fond of good poetry, 
and that she was a keen judge of merit, is illustrated by the 
story of her purchase of a verse sold by the indigent poet, 

1 See above p. 67. 



104 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Sankusala Nrisimhakavi, 1 whom she was instrumental in 
introducing to her father. 

5. Muddupalani (1765- ), a . courtesan attached to the 
court of Pratapasinha, of Tanjore, composed in flowing, felici- 
tous rhymes a kavya, Radhikd Svantam, also known as 
Eladevlya. This work, like others of the Southern school, 
is marred by bad taste and utter lack of decency. 

6. Tarikonda Venkamma (1839- ) composed many 
kavyas, of which Bhagavata in dvipada, Raja Yogasdra 
and Venkatdchala Mahdtya are important. Her poems, 
full of elevated sentiments, are an eloquent protest against 
the debased literary tastes of the day. 

7. Subhadramma (1781- ) wrote some satakas and 
dandakas, of which Kesava Sataka and Krishna Sataka may 
be mentioned. 

8. We find another group of women poets in the 
nineteenth century : 

Bandi Bapamma (1850- ), wrote Mindkshl Sataka. 
Ratnamba (1870 ?- ), wrote Venkatardmana Sataka. 
Chelikani Chellayama (1900- ), wrote Parthasarathi 
Sataka, Janaki Sataka. 

1 See above, p. 76. 



XI 
CHRISTIAN AND MUHAMMAD AN POETS 

Christian Poets 

WE have two poets, belonging to the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries A.D., respectively, who have written 
kavyas on ^Christian subjects Pingali Erranarya, and 
Mangalagiri Anandakavi. Both of them were Brahmins 
the former attached to a Reddy family, and the latter to a 
Brahmin family of affluence. Though it is doubtful whether 
they were formal members of the Christian Church, it is 
probable that they were followers of Christ from within the 
Hindu community. 

Pingali Ellanaryudu (1602) is the author of Tobhya 
Charitra, otherwise known as Sarvesvara Mahdtya. 
He informs the reader that through the grace of his 
guru, Sarabha Naradhya, he learned the eightfold 
composition. In an introductory stanza he mentions the 
important Saivite saints and poets to whom he offers the 
customary praises. The book was written at the instance 
of Thumma Rayapa Reddi, a petty prince of Baktavada, in 
Kondavidu. In the prologue further details are given as to 
the circumstances under which he composed the kavya. 
Obala Reddi, father of Konda Reddi, received orally from 
his acharya, Sanjivanadha Swami, an account of the life 
of Saint Thomas, which was subsequently reduced to 
writing. This appears to be the basis for the poet's 
kavya. 

Mangalagiri Anandakavi (1750),. About the middle of 
the eighteenth century, this poet wrote Veddnta Rasdyana 
and Anuruddha Charitra. Veddnta Rasdyana is a kavya 
in four cantos dedicated to Nidimamilla Dasayamatya, a 
member of an influential family which has adopted the 



106 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

Christian faith. K. Viresalingam judges the poet to be a 
writer of very high eminence, worthy to be placed among 
the best poets of his century. 

The author approaches the subject in a devotional frame 
of mind and gives a clear and succinct account of the life of 
Christ. The teachings of Jesus are not much referred to. 
Of the miracles, a few prominent ones are chosen the raising 
of Lazarus, the cure of the blind. The Nativity stories and 
the events of Passion Week are narrated in detail. In 
the prelude, there is a disquisition on the attributes of God 
and in the epilogue a discourse on the means of grace. 
The author shows intimate acquaintance with the scriptures 
and the rites of the Christian Church. The kavya is 
remarkable as the solitary instance in which a Hindu bhakta,. 
saturated with the thought-forms of his own country, has 
reverently undertaken to proclaim the life of Christ to the 
world. 

The nature of the theme and the necessity of conveying^ 
a correct impression of the life of the foreign Guru brings 
out the best in the author. In handling thought-forms 
evidently not familiar to the Hindu mind, he shows con- 
siderable ability. For example, the phrase ' The lamb that 
taketh away the sin ' is translated without the figure, as 
Kalmasha Paritrdna (Remover of Sins). Throughout, 
we come across touches of fervent Eastern imagination. 
' The Holy One,' he says, ' yielding up his spirit, let fall the 
head on his breast, as the friend of the lotus drops behind 
the hill of the evening.* In one respect the book stands 
out as a class apart. The language is chaste and the 
imagery chastened. The exuberance of fancy, excess of 
alliteration and complexity of structure, characteristic of 
kavya, are all rigorously excluded. We feel in this book 
the earnestness of the bhakta approaching a subject too 
precious to indulge in the arts of mere rhetoric. 

The recent contributions to Christian literature include 
the lyrics used in the church the prominent writer being 
Choudary Purushottam ; and the devotional works of Raja 
Bhujanga Rao, whose versification of the New Testament is 
perhaps the first attempt to present the scriptures of the 
Christians in a simple, appealing Telugu style. 



CHRISTIAN AND MUHAMMADAN POETS 107 



Muhammadan Poets. 

As pointed out, 1 there have been one or two Muham- 
madan rulers who were patrons of Telugu literature. But,, 
curiously enough, there were no Muhammadan writers till 
modern times. Among contemporary writers, Ummar Ali 
Shah is a solitary instance of the Muhammadan poet. One, 
Ganganapalli Hussain, a Muhammadan Vedantist, is the 
author of Hussain Dasu Sataka and Kumati Sataka. 



XII 
THE MODERN PERIOD (1850-1925) 

THE advent of the British brought the Andhra culture 
Into contact with the vitalizing influences of Western 
literatures and arts. The intelligentsia acquired a know- 
ledge of English literature. Under its influence, literary 
tastes are changing, and literary ideals undergoing radical 
transformations. New ideals challenge attention and evoke 
enthusiasm; new watchwords are springing up. On one 
side, love for the vernaculars is being intensified ; on the 
other side, there is a growing, almost a petulant, impatience 
with the old forms and ideals. The mutual interpretation 
of the two cultures has hardly begun. How the genius of 
the race is going to react remains to be seen. A new 
power has entered our literary life, and it is too early to 
forecast the possibilities of this conjunction. Meanwhile 
the air is thick with revolutionary creeds, anarchic tenden- 
cies, reactionary obscurantism. The twentieth century is 
vibrant with literary activity. It is only possible to note a 
few of the striking features. Broadly speaking, the 
activities fall under three heads : (1) Critical. (2) Creative. 
(3) Traditional. 

Under the first head fall (a) literary controversies, (b) 
literary research, (c) literary criticism. Under the second, 
we have the drama, the novel, new prose, new poetry, 
short stories, the literature of knowledge, literary magazines, 
etc. Under the third head are grouped the activities which 
carry forward the traditional literature and use traditional 
methods. It is not possible, even if it were advisable, to 
refer to contemporary writers in detail. We propose to 
restrict ourselves to general tendencies and movements, 
referring to prominent writers only by way of illustration. 



THE MODERN PERIOD 109 

CRITICAL ACTIVITIES 

Literary Controversies. One controversy, which has 
led to an acrimonious battle of words, relates to the rival 
claims of the literary (grandika) and colloquial (gramya) 
types of Telugu languages. In Telugu, unlike English, 
the language of literature is separated by a wide (and 
widening) gulf from the colloquial. Zealous reformers, 
anxious to make literature the living language of the people, 
are advocating that the ' pandit language,' with its compli- 
cated grammar, stilted style, tawdry ornamentation, and 
fantastic restraints of slesha and yamaka, shall be replaced 
by a simpler and more graceful medium. There are 
extremists on both sides ; ' Pharisees ' who regard common 
language as untouchable, and ' Philistines ' who would 
sacrifice all beauty for utility. Between these extremes 
there is a growing consensus of opinion that it is possible 
to have a literary medium which is grammatical without 
being pedantic, and simple without being vulgar or crude. 

2. Another controversy relates to the nature and function 
of literature. Four centuries of devotion to the kavya 
type has created an impasse. With the traditional school, 
language and technique are everything, ideas and inspiration 
are nothing. The pendulum has now swung to the other side. 
One school, in its devotion to life, would exclude art from 
literature. Another school insists that everything Indian 
should be discarded and everything English should be 
admired. They have no eye for the genius of their own 
language. They are anarchists who desire to break down 
all traditional restrictions. They willingly exchange old 
lamps for new; priceless tapestries and jewels for the 
glittering glass of the foreign market. These attempts have 
produced the most grotesque hybrid patchwork, which has 
neither the beauty of Telugu nor the vitality of English. 
A hopeful feature of the situation is the growing number 
of radical reformers who realise that the mechanical adjust- 
ments of cultures will only result in incongruous medley, 
and consequently stand for a living fusion of culture in the 
realm of the spirit. 

Literary Research. A few of the many lines of activity 
pursued by research scholars may be here indicated. 

8 



110 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

1. The Recovery of Lost Literature. Manavalli Rama- 
krishniah has scoured the country with a view to ascer- 
tain whether there was any pre-Sanskrit Telugu literature 
before Nanniah. He has collected a considerable number 
of hitherto unpublished manuscripts, which, whether 
they prove the existence of pre-Nanniah literature or 
not, are a valuable addition to the existing stock of books. 
His discovery and publication of Nannechodu's Kumar a 
Sambhava is a literary event of capital importance. The 
Andhra Sahitya Parishad has for its credit the recovery of 
many hundreds of volumes belonging to the Southern school 
of Telugu literature. The Government Oriental Library 
represents the work done by the State in this connection. 
The valuable collections by Dr. Brown and Col. Mackenzie 
deserve grateful recognition. 

2. The Consolidation of the Results of Research. This 
has been done by working the raw materials supplied by 
various departments of research into a coherent whole in 
the shape of histories of literature and lives of poets. Mr. 
K. Viresalingam's Lives of Telugu Poets (Andhra Kavula 
Charitra) is a standard work of reference. It is a 
monument of patient research and sound scholarship. 
Biographies of Telugu Poets (Kavijlvitamulu), by Guruzada 
Sriramamurti, though less reliable, contains a wealth of 
information about Telugu poets. Vanguri Subba Rao's 
History of Telugu Literature {Andhra Vangmaya 
Charitra} is a study in literary evolution of considerable 
merit and originality. 

3. Perpetuation of Oral Literature. As we have already 
indicated, pre-Nanniah literature of considerable antiquity, 
forming the indigenous Desi literature, still exists in the 
shape of songs and stories, which have not yet been printed. 
The value of oral literature is gradually being realised. 
T. Rajagopala Rao has made investigations in Desi metre 
and has acquired a collection of nursery rhymes. Veturi 
Prabhakara Sastri has already published a volume of 
Chatudhara poems and has ready for publication Songs of 
the Playfield. Vanguri Subba Rao has made a valuable 
contribution in his Sataka Poets. Nandi Raju Chelapati 
Rao has brought out a collection of songs of festivity. 



THE MODERN PERIOD 111 

Folklore is being slowly gathered aud published piece- 
meal. 

4. A fourth line of activity relates to the exploring 
of Prakrit in order to find the evolution of the Telugu 
language and to determine the influence of Jainism and 
Buddhism on our literature. 

5. Comparative Studies. The grammars and vocabu- 
laries of Dravidian languages are being explored, with 
a view to ascertain their mutual relation and obligations. 
B. Sheshagiri Row and Gidugu Ramamurti are conspicuous 
in this field. 

Literary Criticism. The primary function of criticism 
is to exhibit the work of an author in the best light, 
with a view to bring out the graces of his style and the 
quality of his creative art. Constructive criticism of this 
nature is now being pursued along two lines of activity : 

(1) A co-ordination of the labours of epigraphists, 
palseologists and historians is being made, with a view to 
recover the historical background, and the spirit and 
atmosphere of the age. The names of Jayanti Ramiah and 
Kommaraju Lakshmana Rao Pantulu stand out prominent 
in this field. 

(2) Critical editions of classical authors are being pre- 
pared, with elaborate introductions, containing discussions 
on the date, the social setting of the poem, merits of style 
and the correct reading of the text. 

2. Another direction in which criticism is making 
itself felt is the evaluation of literary tendencies and 
claims. The regulative function of criticism is no less 
important than the constructive. According to the orthodox 
tradition, a place of primacy is given to the kavya type, 
and the literary outlook it implies. Modern criticism, 
equipped with a knowledge of other literatures, is challeng- 
ing this position. The assault against kavya is led by the 
radical critics of this generation. The ethics of Sringara- 
rasa, the utility of ornamentation, and the worth of slesha 
have all come under fire. A trans-valuation of literary values 
is taking place. Two brilliant works recently published 
deserve mention : Kavitatva Vicharana, by C. R. Reddy ; 
Sataka Kavulu, by Vanguri Subba Rao. 



112 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

The latter is an attempt to restore popular literature to 
its true place. Among the critics of the day, Vedam Venka- 
taraya Sastri, Veturi Prabhakara Sastri and the Kasi Bhatla 
Brothers command respect for their learning, critical 
acumen and sympathy for new developments in literature. 
They realise that a critical appreciation of our literary heri- 
tage is the only enlightened safeguard against revolution 
on one side and reaction on the other. 

Literary criticism in its truest sense, namely, estimating 
and exhibiting the true excellence of a poet, is not new to 
Telugu literature. It is a long-standing custom to introduce 
in the introductory portion slokas praising the work of the 
great poets. These slokas are really models of liter- 
ary criticism, expressing in neat and compact phrases 
the true estimate of the poet, with remarkable insight. 
We give two instances, supposed to have been stanzas 
addressed to Srinatha and to Kakamani Murti, respectively : 

(1) ' Thou canst compose now like Bhima Kavi (p. 58 f .) in words of 
power, now like Nanniah (p. 42 f.) in the glory of two languages 
(Telugu and Sanskrit), now like Tikkanna (pp. 44 ff.) in verses glisten- 
ing with rasas, now after the manner of Prabandha ParameSvara 
(p. 48), in stanzas of felicitous word and phrase.' 

(2) ' The word-weaving magic of Peddana (p. 72), the honeyed 
sweetness of Timmanna (p. 74), the majesty of expression of Pandu- 
ranga Ramakrishna (p. 83) are thine.' 

CREATIVE ACTIVITIES 

The greatest change that is coming over our literary 
outlook is not so much the work of conscious criticism, as 
the effect of the time-spirit affecting the basis of literary 
life. The decadence of poetry, patent during the last four 
centuries, has been due to the ebbing away of vital energies 
from literature a fact often masked behind elaborate word- 
architecture. The primary cause of this anaemia has been 
the segregation of the poet from the vital currents of life. He 
lost touch with realities, and lived in an artificial world of 
his own making. The pandit, the grammarian, and the 
rhetorician presented the poet with an artificial system of 
cardboard men and women gaudily painted, standardized 
emotions, and stereotyped figures of speech and thought, 



THE MODERN PERIOD 113 

unchanged through long ages. But now the new life has 
broken into this strongly barricaded enclosure, and has 
liberated the spirit of poetry from the prison-house of fixed 
ideas. The re-animation of fading energies, the re-kindling 
of hope in short, the recovery of youth and vigour are 
among the spiritual gains of this contact with world-thought. 
The literary output springing from the new spirit may be 
classified under three heads : 

1. The Literature of Knowledge. 

2. The Literature of Union. 

3. The Literature of Rejuvenation. 

The Literature of Knowledge. A craving for transla- 
tion is a congenital impulse in Telugu literature. We 
began with an era of translations, and we are in the midst 
of an active recrudescence of the phenomenon. Ever since 
Mr. Viresalingam translated Lamb's Tales front Shakes- 
peare> the appetite for translations has become voracious. 
Sanskrit drama, Bengali poetry, French novels, Russian 
tales, science, art and history are included in the range of 
translations. Another branch of this type_of literature is 
the preparation of books of reference. The Andhra Parishad 
is compiling a new Telugu Dictionary called Surya Rdya 
Nigantu, after the name of the Raja of Pitapur, who is 
financing the undertaking. The Vijiidna Chandrikd Series 
was started with the object of bringing to the Telugu reader 
the wealth of world-culture. Mr. C. Virabhadra Rao's 
History of the Andhras (Andhrula Charitra) and Andhra 
Sarvasvamu (a Telugu Encyclopaedia), edited by the late 
Mr. K. Lakshmana Rao, are among the most notable 
publications of this series. 

The Literature of Union. Under this class fall new 
modes of activity in Telugu literature, such as the drama, 
novel, short story, and new poetry. This literature is born 
at the confluence of two streams of thought, East and West, 
and is controlled by English-educated young men, who look 
at the heritage of the past from a new standpoint. 

1. The Drama. Though drama as a department of 
Telugu literature is of recent origin, acted plays have existed 
for a long time. Cruder forms of drama were in vogue in the 
form of Pagati-Veshamulu (Daylight Plays) and Vldhi- 



114 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

nafakamulu (Street Plays). Stage-craft must have attained 
some development, as we find Srinatha mentioning the name 
Butchigadu as a celebrated actor of female parts in his day. 
Pingali Suranna's Prabhdvati Pradyumnamu (p. 79), if it 
can be taken to reflect prevailing conditions, throws interest- 
ing light on the acting and the staging of the drama. 

The earliest drama in the Telugu language is Vallabha 
Matya's Kriddbhi Rdmamu (Street Scenes) at the Imperial 
capital, Warangal. The author says that he had seen a 
woman acting portions of Palndti Vlra Chariira. The 
next set of dramas are of the eighteenth century. They are 
Balasarasvati's Rangakaumudi and Karhkanti Papa Raju's 
Vishnu Maya Vildsa. The Southern school was more 
prolific in dramas, but it is doubtful whether any of them 
have a claim to be regarded as literature. 

The origin of the modern Telugu drama is traceable to 
the influence of the plays of Shakespeare, often enacted in 
India, and the impulse given by the advent of the Dharvada 
Nataka Company and Parsi theatricals. The plays fall 
under the three classes : (1) Adaptations from Sanskrit and 
English ; (2) Social Satire ; (3) Historical Drama. 

With the exception of one or two plays, most of them are 
a mediocre type. There seems to be a feud between the 
playwright and the producer. The popular dramas have 
no literary value and literary dramas are not popular. 

Puranic Dramas. Puranas supply an inexhaustible store 
of material. Here, too, as elsewhere, a beginning is made 
with translations. Prominent translators from Sanskrit 
are : (1) Paravastu Rangacharlu, Saknntald. (2) Kokkonda 
Venkataratnam Pantulu, Narakdsura Vijaya. (3) Veddadi 
Subbarayudu, Mallika Mdriita, Veni Samhdra, Sakuntald, 
Vikrama Urvasiya. 

Other dramas belonging to this order are : Mrichakatika^ 
Ratndvali and Droupati Vastrdpaharana. In the present 
decade, these have been replaced by plays which are inde- 
pendent adoptions of Puranic stories. D. Krishnama- 
charlu is a popular author of many Puranic dramas, of which 
Chitra Naliyam has had a great run. In point of literary 
merit the plays of Vedam Venkata Raya Sastri are amongst 
the best. 



THE MODERN PERIOD 115 

Social Satire. Mr. Viresalingam has written light farces, 
more or less of the nature of interludes, which are very 
popular. In these, social follies and foibles are held up to 
ridicule in comic sketches written in a light vein. Guruzada 
Apparao, who wrote Kanya Sulka (dealing with the 
scandal of the dowry system), and Panuganti Lakshmi- 
narasirhha Rao, who wrote Kantabharanam> are prominent 
writers of satirical plays. 

Historical Drama. A writer above the ordinary level 
is K. Srinivasa Rao, the leader of the historic drama. 
Prithivl Raja and The Fall of Vijayanagar are the most 
popular of his plays. Both of them are tragedies a type 
not represented in the Indian dramas. The Fall of 
Vijayanagar is a study in race conflict. Rama Razu, 
the last of the Vijayanagar kings, had an illegitimate son 
by a Muhammadan woman, whom he brings up as his own 
son and entrusts him with the command of his army in the 
fateful battle of Talikota. The hero is in love with a 
Muhammadan girl, a captive of war, who seeks to revenge 
the insult offered to her by the king and incites him to go 
over to the enemy. The hero is in the grip of a great 
struggle. The call of his race and of love points one way, 
but the call of duty and parental affections urge in the 
opposite direction. Under the stress of a great emotional 
conflict he turns mad on the battlefield and, after killing his 
father, commits suicide. Of the other historical plays the 
following deserve mention : 

Roshanara, by K. Subba Rao. 

Prataparudra, by V. Venkata Raya Sastri. 

Bobbili Battle, by Sripada Krishna Murti. 

Sarangadhara, a play of questionable morals and 
execrable taste, disgraces the stage. 

2. The Novel. The novel is unrepresented in old Telugu 
literature and owes its birth to the influence of its English 
prototype. Kddambari, a type of metrical romance, copied 
from the Sanskrit, is the nearest approach to the novel. 
The novel, though fast becoming popular, is still in its 
initial stages of development. Most of them are second- 
rate copies or adaptations from English. The original 
productions are crude, hybrid patchworks of immature 



116 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

workmanship. The historic and domestic novel is re- 
presented by translations from Bengali, mainly from Bankim 
Chandra Chattopadhyaya and Romesh Chandra Dutt. The 
credit of being the pathfinder in this field belongs to 
Mr. Viresalingam, whose Raja Sekhara Charitra, adapted 
from the Vicar of Wakefield, is the earliest novel. The 
detective novel is just making its appearance, and it is too 
early to predict its future. In the construction of the plot 
and development of interest and vividness of style 
Ch. Lakshmmarasimhan stands head and shoulders over the 
writers of the day. 

3. Satire. In the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries 
A.D., two poets became conspicuous by their satirical 
writings. Their humour, never polished, often malicious, 
and occasionally descending to vulgarity, was intended to 
hurt. Jaggakavi's Chandra Rekha Vilapam, though marred 
by long stretches of low humour, is of a better type. He holds 
up to ridicule the life of the idle-rich the zamindars of the 
day their vanity, vulgarity and crude immorality. He 
was a master of invective. Ravana Dommlyamu, known as 
Lanka Vijaya, is an instance of satire after the manner of 
the Dimciad. Parody is represented by Girata. 

In the twentieth century, following the example of 
English humorists, a new type of literature has come into 
existence. Mr. Viresalingam 's prahasanas lead the way for 
social satire. Genial and kindly, pointed but never painful, 
the author's light farces are models to be followed. A 
worthy successor to him is Panuganti Lakshminarasirhham, 
whose Sakshi (Spectator) is an example of clean, sparkl- 
ing humour, which seeks to kill social vices without 
cruelty. 

4. New Prose. Up to the eighteenth century, verse 
was the universal medium of Telugu literature. Such 
prose as existed occurred in parenthetical snatches, intro- 
duced as a literary device. The eighteenth century prose 
was more a creature of necessity than of literary perception. 
As a result of modern controversies, there is a clearer 
delineation of the province of prose and verse, and a 
clearer perception of the possibilities of prose. Modern 
prose, like Nanniah's, is simpler and more malleable than 



THE MODERN PERIOD 117 

the * high prose ' of the kavya period. Mr. Viresalingam 
is the pioneer, and Mr. P. Chinniah Suri sets the model of 
perspicuity and grace in his Panchatantra* 

5. New Poetry. The most prominent of recent tenden- 
cies in literature, which holds the promise of a great future, 
is the ' New Poetry.' Unlike the new drama and the new 
novel, it is not imitative. Though profoundly influenced by 
Bengali literature on one side, and English on the other, it 
has neither borrowed the substance nor copied the form 
from outside. It is the product of literary tendencies long 
lying dormant, now awakened to activity by the impetus of 
new forces from outside. The significance of the new poetry 
lies in the fact that it marks a return to Desi type of 
literature the native element in which the Andhra mind 
can flower and bear fruit. From the twelfth century 
onwards our poetry has been a wanderer in the realm of 
Sanskrit culture. The ' New Poetry ' marks the joyful 
home-coming of the prodigal. Much of it is strewn 
broadcast in contemporary magazines, and hence it is 
difficult to assess correctly its value and tendency. As far 
as can be judged, it is expressing itself in lyric and sonnet. 
Part of it reflects a spirit of simple fellowship and 
communion with nature, and may develop into a Nature 
School. The honour of being the pioneer in this line of 
development belongs to Rayaprolu Subba Rao. The Sahiti 
Samiti, a literary association started for the purpose of 
cultivating the ' New Poetry,' contains among its members 
most of the prominent poets of this school. D. Ramireddi's 
Krishlvaludu is a welcome departure from worn-out paths. 
It is a description of the life of the agriculturist, of the pro- 
cession of the seasons, and the glory of the harvest. Some 
of the lyrics are after the fashion of Shelley's Skylark. 
The prominent feature is its suggestiveness. Behind the 
obvious value there is a suggestion of spiritual meaning. 
The setting sun, somehow, suggests the passing away of the 
soul ; the music of the bangle yields some illusive song of 
the spirit. Venki Songs, by N. Subba Rao, sums up the 
elusive charm of simple imagery, hinting depths of meaning. 
In Venki Songs the new poetry of this decade reaches 
its high-water mark. 

9 



118 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

6. The Short Story. We have in Telugu literature the 
didactic fable represented by Panchatantra, prose romances 
represented by Datakumara Char lira, stories after the 
manner of Arabian Nights represented by Madana Kama 
Raju stories and Suka Saptati, tales of wonder represented 
by Simhasana Dvatrimiska stories, and tales in verse 
represented by Navanatha Cliaritra and Dhanabhi 
Ramamu. But the ' short story ' in the modern sense is only 
now making its appearance. The following collection of 
short stories have already been published : 

(1) Panuganti Lakshminarasimham Rao, Suvarna Rekha 
Kathavali. 

(2) Madapati Hanumanta Rao, Mallika Gutchamu (A 
Bouquet of Jasmin). 

(3) Akki Raju Umakanta, Trilinga Stories. 

(4) Sripada Subramanya Sastri, Phuladanda (A Garland 
of Flowers). 

TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Alongside the new poetry the historic tradition of the 
epic and the kavya is continued, though under new and 
vastly changed environment. The poets trained in the old 
learning, holding allegiance to old idols, are writing kavyas. 
These represent the conservative wing of the literary 
advance. Though not directly influenced by English 
literature, the new culture is brought to bear upon them in 
a thousand and one channels of suggestion and contact. 
Their literary productions are infused with a sense of the 
new life. The crudities of kavya outlook are shed, and the 
ornate style is replaced by a pleasing blend of the softness 
of the old with the vigour of the new. More attention is 
paid to the story and less to the description. Harmony 
and proportion are studied. Of the prominent authors of 
this school the following may be mentioned : 

(1) Tirupati Venkatesvara Kavulu. 

(2) Ramakrishna Kavulu. 

(3) Kokkonda Venkataratnam. 

(4) Veddadi Sebbarayudu. 

(5) Devulapalli Brothers, of Pithapuram. 



THE MODERN PERIOD 119 

Magazines and Newspapers. The printing press, 
which is pregnant with revolutionary possibilities, has 
transferred the power of patronage from the king and the 
zamindar to a reading public. In the past, kings and sanghams 
were the judges of the poet. This is fast changing. The 
critical function is passing into the hands of newspapers and 
magazines. It may not be out of place here just to note 
the more important of the current magazines : 

(1) The Andhra Patrika. This premier Telugu daily 
has played an important part in promoting the revival of 
letters. It is the supporter of new movements in literature. 

(2) The Andhra Par is had Patrika stands for cautious 
advance in literary reform. 

(3) Bharati) a high-class literary magazine, mainly 
interested in the promotion of research and encouragement 
of new tendencies in literature. 

(4) Sahiti is the exponent of new poetry and specializes 
in the short story. 

(5) Sdrada focuses literary tendencies and forms a link 
between the conservative and liberal schools. 

(6) Kala stands for the correlation of art and literature. 

(7) Sarasvati publishes unpublished works in instal- 
ments. It is the organ of the conservative school. 

(8) Manjuvani (now discontinued), a literary magazine 
with the same object as Sarasvati. 



XIII 
RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT 

THE history of Telugu literature, as narrated in the previ- 
ous chapters, has enabled us to trace its development in 
broad outlines. Starting with the humble beginnings in 
the Desi, the normal tenor of development was violently 
arrested by the inauguration of the Margi. The Desi litera- 
ture, like the pretty prattling brooks of the countryside, 
represented the natural outpourings of the simple-hearted 
indigenous poet. From about the eleventh century A.D. 
new ambitions have filled the literary vision. The poets 
have assayed to build an august ' Vidyasagar,' for which 
they acquired the necessary engineering skill by arduous 
apprenticeship to Sanskrit writers. Having built it, they 
diverted into it the stagnating waters of Sanskrit culture. 
It is a noble achievement, imposing in its grandeur, though 
lacking in simplicity. Thenceforward Sanskrit-Telugu 
literature became the main current, the Desi surviving by 
sufferance. Had it been otherwise, had the main line of 
development been with the Desi, had Sanskrit been content 
to play the role of a generous sympathiser from outside, 
instead of being stepmother within the household, we 
should have had a nobler history to write, and a prouder 
heritage to commemorate. As it is, Andhra literature, 
though wanting in originality and creative energy, is 
nevertheless varied and beautiful a heritage of which the 
Telugu can justly be proud and to which he can always 
turn for inspiration. 

Characteristics. What are the distinguishing features of 
Telugu literature, as compared with Sanskrit on the one 
hand, and Dravidian literatures on the other ? What indi- 
vidual and characteristic note does it strike ? The Telugu 



RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT 121 

poets are not creators but artists. Theirs is not the supreme 
genius of inspiration, but the secondary excellence of crafts- 
manship. They are excellent moulders. The moulds 
and the materials are borrowed; but the art of melting 
and the cunning of casting is all their own. The images 
they turn out are the Puranic images common to Sanskrit 
and Dravidian literatures ; but the polish of features, the 
delicacy of pencilling, the deftness of touch is peculiar to 
Telugu poetic art. The Telugu poets are worshippers of 
style ; and their art is in the refinement of language. It is 
the dexterity of weaving words, the daintiness of sentiment, 
sweetness of phrasing that draws their admiration. In 
technical language, the differentia of Telugu poetry is 
' paka,' the art of melting Sanskrit and Telugu in due 
proportion and the knack of pouring it into the mould at 
the right temperature. Telugu poetry is song set to music ; 
symphony and sweetness is its soul. The Telugu poets 
have grafted the wild Sanskrit onto the crude Dravidian- 
Telugu stock, and have evolved a luscious literary Telugu, 
which, like the mango, is unmatched for taste and colour. 
There is no more beautiful or sweeter language among 
Indian tongues than the literary Telugu ; the guttural 
harshness of Sanskrit is subdued and the crudeness of 
Dravidian Telugu sublimated by a judicious blend. The 
best Telugu poets are those who have learned the secret of 
this harmonious blend. 

Defects. This facility, almost this witchery, of expression 
has been alike the excellence and ruin of Telugu literature. 
It rendered it all too easy to separate art from life. This 
central weakness has prevented Telugu literature from taking 
its place among the great literatures of the world. The 
Telugu poets, though conscientious and capable artists, fall 
short of being creators. They have not given to the world 
any creations corresponding to Hamlet, Shylock, Jingle, 
Pickwick, or Sherlock Holmes. In the international assembly 
of poets' ideal creations, the Andhra is unrepresented. Life 
thus divorced from art took its revenge whenever the 
poets ventured into paths of independence, by striking 
them with confusion. With regard to form and language, 
the instinct of the Telugu poets is unerring, and their taste 



122 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

cultivated. But in the realm of ideation, their instincts 
were perverted, taste crude, judgment clouded. In the 
indictment against Telugu poetry there are many counts, 
and all of them flow from this dissociation of art from 
life. The poets copied Sanskrit literature, not at its best, 
but just when it was decadent ; not from the masterpieces 
of Vaidarbhi, but from the artificial elaboration of Gauda 
style. It is a humiliating reflection that they translated 
Sakuntald as a kavya. They avoided the drama and 
admired the kavya. Their adoration of the kavya 
stamps them all over with literary ineptitude. They 
neglected the natural beauties of the Desi and cultivated 
the tawdry elaborations of the Margi. They exalted the 
sickening excesses of Sringara over the subtle charms of 
the Jdvali. The kavya heroes are not strong men of 
action and achievement, but psychopathic perverts grovel- 
ling in eroticism. Chitra Kavitva is literary acrobacy. 
The love of slesha is but a primitive taste. All these 
defects, present in the shape of incipient tendencies 
in all except the major poets, become increasingly patent 
from the time of the Ashtadiggajas ; till at last in 
the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the 
movements of literature, like the dance of a paralytic, are 
stiff, uncouth, painful alike to perform and to witness. 
Here lies also the striking paradox in Telugu literature. 
The age of translations was really the age of freedom, and 
the so-called age of independence (the kavya age) ushered 
in the period of bondage. When the poet borrowed the 
substance from Sanskrit, he retained the freedom of art and 
expression ; but when he borrowed the art from Sanskrit, he 
lost the freedom of thought. 

The mischief of excessive preoccupation with art and 
technique, to the neglect of life, did not stop with these 
disastrous consequences to literary thought, taste and 
judgment, but has induced a moral outlook in the poets 
which is detrimental to all true progress. In the first place, 
the poets became indifferent to what they borrowed and 
where they borrowed it from, so long as they were able to 
cast it in a sweet musical medium. Since it was easier to 
borrow themes from outside, than carve them out of raw 



RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT 123 

life, they became chronic mendicants. They borrowed from 
Sanskrit literature in the Purana Yuga, from Sanskrit rhetori- 
cians in the Prabandha Yuga, from each other in Andhakara 
Yuga, from all and sundry in the Nava Yuga all this, when 
the life within and without clamoured for poetic _expression. 
Hence, Telugu literature reflects very little of Andhra life, 
history, culture, scenery. In the second place, the constant 
association with what was deemed to be a superior culture, 
Sanskrit, bred in the poet a tendency to develop high- 
brow literature, contemptuous of common life and simple 
emotions ; and with the snobbery of parvenus, they called 
Dvipada ' an old hag,' and barely tolerated Sataka. The 
neglect of a life which was their own, the hankering after a 
life which was others', was the moral retribution of the 
severing of life and art. 

Telugu literature is a flaming red symbol of warning 
against dissociation of life from art in literature. It is a 
literary transgression of the first magnitude to legislate for 
life, and maintain, as the authorities on poetics have done, 
that there are only nine ' rasas.' 1 Life is so various, mysteri- 
ous, elusive that we have to say that the rasas are ninety 
times nine. Love is not Sringara, the mephitic inhalations 
of lust alone. There are a thousand tenses and moods 
for love the love that weeps, laughs, prattles, rollics, 
smiles, kills, immolates. Poetry must ally itself with the 
mystery of life in all its ceaseless manifestations. To force 
life into the cast-iron systems of grammarians and rhetori- 
cians is to forfeit all claims to inspiration. The real danger 
to literature does not arise from anarchists they damage 
but the body. The enemies are of the household, the pandit 
and the pedant for they hurt the soul. 

The Future. The future of Telugu literature depends 
largely upon the capacity of the new generation of poets to 
escape from the bondage of the kavya ideal and outlook. 
Fortunately, there are unmistakable signs in the literature 
of the last three decades that the emancipation is already 
being effected. A union of life and art is being established 
anew. Through contact with Western literatures and the 

1 See above p. 35. 



124 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 

emergence of new social and political ideals, a fresh and 
truer conception of poetry is coming into vogue. It is 
realised that the poet is something more than the maker 
of verses, however beautiful. The poet is the seer, who 
sees life anew. The poet is the visionary, who imparts his 
visions to the reader. 

The reaction against kavya may carry the poet to the 
other extreme. If great art alone does not make noble 
literature, neither does great thought alone. Doubtless, life 
is the major partner ; but art has a vital interest. Quarried 
stones must be cut and polished. The neglect of form is 
only a passing phase. If our poets lay firm hold of the 
simple truth that true literature is the artistic expression 
of life, there is no need to be pessimistic of the future. 
The fecundity of the last few decades inspires hope for the 
future. A literature that has survived four centuries of 
kavya must have had a charmed life. The love of art is 
always with the Telugu poets. What literature stands in 
supreme need of is baptism by full immersion in Andhra 
life. Then the modern renaissance may yet add a new 
chapter to the Telugu literature, which can worthily 
compare with the glories of the Kavitraya and the grandeur 
of the Ashtadiggajas. 



INDEX 

Titles of books are given in italics 



A BBANAMATYA, Kanuparti, 
f* 90 

Abhinava Dandi(Title of Ketana), 

56 

Achyuta Nayak, 91 
Achyuta Raya, 26 
Adhydtma Rdmdyana, 54 
Agastya, 21 

Ahalyd Samkrandana, 92 
Ahobala Mahdtmya, 48 
Ahoballyd, 91 
Akhyana, 33 

Akkaras (of Nanniah), 40 
Alamkara, 34 f . 
Allasani Peddana, 29 ff ., 72-80 
Alphabet, Telugu, 18 
AmareSvara, Chimmapudi, 59 
Ambikasatakam, 59 
Amuktamdlyada, 70 f. 
Anandakavi Mangalagiri (Chris- 
_ tian poet), 90, 105'f. 
Ananda Rangapillai, 92 
Ananta Chandas, 65 
Anantamatya, 65 
Ananta Raju, Tupakula, 92 
Andhra Bhasha, 15 ff . 
Andhra Bhashabhushana> 56 
Andhra Bhasharnava, 93 
Andhra _Bhoja (Title of Krishna- 
_ devaraya), 26 
Andhra-Chodas, 23, 52, 56 
Andhra DeSa, 14 
Andhra Kavita Pita Mahudu 

_(Title of Allasani Peddana), 72 
Andhra Kavula Charitra, 110 
Andhra Lipi, 17 , 38 
Andhra Parishad Patrika 

_(Newspaper), 9, 119 
Andhra abda Chintamani 
(Prakriyakaumudi), 43 



Andhra Sahitya Parishad, 110 
Andhra Sarvasvamu, 113 
Andhras History, Religion, 

_Literature, 14, etc. 
Andhra Van^maya Charitra, 

_110 

Andhrula Charitra, 113 
Annayya, Yadha Vakkula, 99 
Anthologies, 18, 93 
Anubhava Sara, 51 
Anuruddha Charitra, 90, 105 
Appa Rao, Guruzada, 115 
Aryan origin of Telugu, 13 ff. 
Ashtadiggajas, The, 72, 84, 87 
Aoka inscriptions, 20 
Atharvana, 55 f . 

Atharvana, Bharata of, 21, 23, 49 
Atharvana Chandas, 55 
Atharvana Veda, 55 
Avatdra Darpuna, 67 
Ayyala Raju Ramabhadriah (or 
Ramabhadra Kavi), 30, 72, 
75 f., 103 

DAHMANI Kingdom, 25, 84 
** Bahulasva Charitra, 90 
Bdla Bhdgavata, 65 
Bala Saragvatl, Elakuchi, 88, 90, 

114 

Ballana Charitra, 90 
BankimChandraChattopadhyaya, 

(translations from), 116 
Bapamma, Bandi, 104 
Basava Purdna, 24, 52, 63, 77 
Beddanna, 23_,'51 _ 
Bhadradri RarnaSastri Sonti, 91 
Bhadrddri Rdmasataka, 51 
Bhdgavata, 41, 81, 88 
Bhdgavatgltd, 91, 93 
Bhairavakavi, 68 



126 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 



Bhanda Kavitva, 90 

Bhdratdbhyudaya, 91 

Bhdrata t Maha Translations of, 

42, 68 ; Atharvana's, 21, 55 ff. ; 

Jaimini's, 48 f ., 66 f ., 92 &._, 103 ; 

Nanniah's, 42 f . ; Ranganatha's, 

5_4 f . ; Tikkanna's, 44 f., 56 
Bharavi, 61 
Bhaskaracharya, 50 
Bhaskara, Hullaki, 24, 57 
Bhaskara, Mantri, 57 
Bhaskara Pantulu, 77 
Bhaskara Rdmdyana, 24, 46 
Bhattumurti, 82 
Bhlma Kavi, Vemulavada, 29, 54, 

58 f. 

Bhlmesvara Parana, 60, 63 
Bhogim Dandaka, 64 
Bhdja Rajlyd, 65 
Bhujanga Rao, Raja M., 106 
Bhushana, Ramaraja, 26, 72, 75, 

78,80'ff. 

Bilhamya, 93, 95 
Biographies of Telugu Poets 

(Kavijlvitamulu), 110 
Brahmi Lipi, 17 
Brihat Kathd Manjari, 102 
Buddha Razu, 23, 55 ff., 98, 103 
Buddhism, Influence on Telugu 

Literature, 21, 111 
Bukka Raya, 25, 59 

pALDWELL, Dr., 15 f . 
^ Chalukyas, 21 f . 
Champu/34, 43, 54, 97 
Chamundi Vilasa, 43 
Chanakya Nltisara, 51 
Chandrabhanu Charitra, 84 
Chandrangada Charitra, 90 
Chandra Rekha Vilapam, 116 
Chatudhara Poems, 110 
Chelapati Rao, Nandi Raju, 110 
Chellayama, Chelikani, 104 
Chinniah Suri, 117 
Chitra Kavitva, 89, 122 
Chitra Naliyam, 114 
Chitra Si ma, 91 
Chokkanatha, 92 
Cholas, 21 f. 
Choudappah, Sataka, Kavi, 92 



Christianity, and Christian Poets, 
28, 90, 105 ff. 

P\AMMANADORA, 65 

^ Dandaka, 100 

Dandakaranya, 14, 20 

Dasakumaracharitra, 56, 117 

Dasaratha Raja Nandana Cha- 
ritra, 89 

Das ar at hi Sataka, 99 

Dasayamatya, Nidumamilla, 105 

Des"! Literature, 38, 110, 117 

Devi Bhagavata, 65 

Devulapalli Brothers, 118 

Dhanabhi Ramamu, 90, 118 

Dhanyakataka, 20 

Dhurjaa, 31, 72, 99 

Dictionaries, 93, 113 

Dikshit, Appiah, 83 

Dikshit, Govinda, 91 

Dittakavi Narayana, 27 

Draksha paka, 34, 43 

Draksha Ramam, 14 

Drama, 32,_60, 65 f., 94, 113 f. 

Dravida Brahmi, 17 

Dravidian influence on Telugu 
Literature, 13 ff., 39, 89, 120 

Droupati Vastrapaharana, 114 

Duggiah, Duggupalli, 68 

Dvanda Kavya, 78, 88 

Dvipada Basava Purdna, 51 

Dvipada Literature, 35, 97 

Dvipada Ramdyana, 23, 103 

Dvitiyacharya (Title of Athar- 
vana), 55 

EIGHTEENTH Century Poets, 

^ 90 

Ekddsi Mahdtya, 68 

Eladevlya, 104 

Eleventh Century Poets, 50 

Ellanaryundu Pingali (Christian 
Poet), 90, 105 f.' 

Encyclopaedias, Telugu, 113 

English influence on Telugu Liter- 
ature, 109, 113 

Errapragada, 48 f., 59 

FALL of Vijayanagar (K. S. 
Rao), 115 



INDEX 



127 



Fifteenth Century Poets, 62 ff. 
Folk Lore, 111 

Fourteenth Century Poets, 58 ff. 
French and English in the Telugu 

Country, 27 
Future of Telugu Literature, 

123 f. 

p ANGADHARA, Addamki, 84 

^ Garbha Kavitva, 90 

Geyamulu, 100 

Glrata, 116 

Gopanna, Kancherla, 99 

Gouranna Mantri, 65 

Gouri Kalyana, 90 

Grammars, and Grammarians, 15, 

18, 38, 56, 87 
Grdmya Literature, 109 
Grandika Literature, 109 
Gurunatha, Kumara, 47 

IJALASYA Mahdtya, 93 
ri Haribhat, 65, 90 
Harichandropakydna, 65 
Harikathas, 100 
Hari Kdthd Sara, 73 
Harischandra Nalopdkhyana t 

33,82 

Harivamsa, 48 
Harivilasa, 60 
Hay a LakshanaJSara, 68 
History of the Andhras 

(Andhrula Charitrd), 113 
History of Telugu Literature 

(Andhra Vangmana Chari- 

trd), 110 

Hullakki Bhaskara, 23, 57 
Hussain Ddsu Sataka, 107 
Hussain, Ganganapalli, 107 

IBRAHIM Mulk, 84 

Indumatl Vivdha> 77 
Indra Vijaya, 43 

JAGG A Kavi, Kuchimanchi 
(Christian Poet), 90, 116 
Jagganatha (Mathematician), 50 
Jaiminl Bharata, 67, 103 
Jains, Jain Literature, 21 f., 38, 

41,53, 111 
Jakkanna, 65 



Janakl Sataka, 104 
Jayanti Ramabhut, 46 
Jltananda, 64 

l^ACHAVIBHUDU, 54 f., 98 
ISk Kadali Paka, 34, 49 
Kddambari, 115 
Kakamani Murti,73, 90, 112 
Kakatlyas, 23 ff., 51, 56, 102 
Kala (Newspaper), 119 
Kcilahastl Mahatmya, 76 
Kalahastesvara ataka, 99 
Kalapurnodaya, 78 ff., 91 
Kalavilasa, 52 
Kaiidasa, 52, 61,80 
Kalidasa Tray a, 61 
Kamalanabha, 63 
Kamkanti Paparaju, 54 
Kanarese, Relation to Telugu, 

16ff.,38,52ff. 
Kanchlpura Mahatya, 68 
Kantabharanam, 115 
Kanyakapurana, 77 
Kanyd Sulk a, 115 
Kasi Bhatla Brothers, 112 
Kdsi Khanda Mayahpinda, 60 f . 
Kavi Brahma (Title of Tikkanna), 

44 

Kavi Gajankusa, 67 
Kavi Jana Ranjana, 88 
Kavi Janasrayam, 21, 58 
Kavi Jtvitamulu, 110 
Kavikarna Rasdyana, 76 
Kavi Raja Manoranjana, 88, 90 
Kavi Raja Sikhamani (Title of 

Nannechodu), 52 
Kavi Tapita Maha (Title of 

Allasani Peddana), 74 
Kavitatva Vicharana, 111 
Kavitraya (the three great Poets, 

Nanniah, Tikkanna, and Erra- 

pragada), 24, 36, 42, 58 f. 
Kavi-Vakbandhana, 46 
Kavya, 35 ff., 70 ff., 87 ff., etc. 
Kavydlankara Chudamahi, 59 
Kesava Sataka, 104 
Ketana, Mulaghatika, 56 
Keyurabahucharitra, 57 
Kirdtdrjunlya, 61 
Kommanna, Nissenka, 65 



128 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 



Koneru Kavi, 65, 98 
Kriddbhirdmamu, 66, 114 
Krishlvaludu, 117 
Krishnadevaraya, 13, 25, 29 f., 

69 ff, 74 ff , 86, 91 
Krishnadevaraya Vijaya, 77 
Krishnakavi, 88 
Krishnakavi, Velagapudi, 93 
Krishnamacharlu, D., 114 
Krishnamurti, Shistu, 91 
Krishnamurti Sripada, 115 
Krishndrjuna Charitra, 88 
Krishna Sataka, 104 
Kumarl Dhurjati, 77 
Kumar a Sambhava, 37, 110 
Kumati Sataka, 107 
Kuppamma, 103 

I AKSHMANAKAVI Pindiproli, 

Lakshmana Rao Pantulu, Kom- 

maraju, 111, 113 
Lakshmlnarasimham, Ch., 116 
Lakshmmarasimham, Panuganti, 

115 f. 

Lakshml Nrisimha Pur ana, 48 
Lalipatalu (Songs of the Cradle), 

100 
Lamb : Tales from Shakespeare 

(Telugu translation), 113 
Lanka Vijaya, 116 
Lllavati, 50 
Linga Pur ana, 83, 93 
Lingayatism, 24, 28, 51 
Literary Criticism, 111 f. 
Literary Modes and Forms_, 33-36 
Lives of Telugu Poets (Andhra 

Kavula Charitra), 110 

fyJADALASA CHARITRA, 

Madana Kama Raju stories, 118 
Madanavijaya, 59 
Madhvacharya, and Madhvism, 

28,50 

Magazines, 118 f. 
Magha Mahatya, 67 
Mahabharata (see Bharata'} 
Maha Kavya, 34 
Malayalam, relation to Telugu, 16 



Mallana, Madiahgari, 72, 76 
Mallana, Pavaluri, 50 
Mallana, Praudhakavi, 68, 76 
Mallana, son of Potana, 65 
Mallana, Tarigopulla, 84 
Malliah, Chadalavada, 84 
Malliah, Namdi, 68 
Mallika Gutchamu, 118 
Mallika Maruta, 114 
Mallikarjuna Jamgama, 52 
Manasollasa Sara, 67 
Manchanna, 57 
Mangalahratulu, 100 
Manjuvani (Newspaper), 119 
Manucharitra of Peddana, 57, 

72 ff., 80 

Manumanchi Bhat, 68 
Manumasiddhi, 46 
Marana, 23,57,63, 73 
Margi Literature, 38 ff. 
Marlchi Parinaya, 103 
Markendeya Pur ana, 23, 57, 63, 

72 

Marutrat Charitra, 60 
Matsya Pur ana, 90 
Melukolupulu, 100 
Minakshi Sataka, 104 
Mitakshara (Telugu Transla- 
tion), 56 
Modern Movements in Telugu 

Literature, 108-119 
Molla, Kummari, 54, 77, 103 
Mrichakatika, 114 
Mrutyumjaya Kavi, Kottalanka, 

89 

Muddupalani, 92, 104 
Muhammadan Poets, 107 
Mukku Timmanna ( = Nandi 

Timmanna), 74 
Mulaghatika Ketana, 56 
Mulugu Papayya, 65 
Music in relation to Telugn 

Literature, 100 

MACHANA Soma, 59, 93 

*^ Nachiketopdkydna, 68 

Nadus, 14 f. 

Nagara Khdnda, 84 

Naishada, 59, 61 

Naishdda Vidvat Aushada, 61 



INDEX 



129 



Nalacharitra, 89 

Nallanna (= Atharvana), 55 

Nandi Timmanna, 31, 72, 74 ff. 

Nannechodu, 23, 29, 35, 37, 52 ff., 
110 

Nanniah, 17, 29, 34, 37, 42 ff., 50, 
54 f., 74, 110 

Naradiya, 67 

Narakasura Vijaya, 114 

Narasabhupaliya, 82 

Narayana Bhat, 43 f., 103 

Narayana Dittakavi, 27, 90 

Narayana Dubagunta, 68 

Narayya Veligandala, 65 

Narikela paka, 34 

Navanatha Charitra, 65, 118 

Newspapers, Telugu, 118 f. 

Nilasundara Parinaya, 89 

Nineteenth Century Poets, 90 f., 
104, 108 f. 

Nirankusopakhyana, 84 

Nirvachanottara Ramayana, 46, 
93 

Nlti Sara, 23, 51 

Nlti Sastra Muktavali, 56 

Niyogis, 15,63,74 

Northern School of Telugu Liter- 
ature (compared with the 
Southern), 91-95 

Novels, 115 f. 

Nrisimha Pur ana, 58, 63 

Nrisimha, SankuSala, 30 f., 76 f. 

ORIGINS of Telugu Language 
and People, 13 ff . 

DADMAKAVI, 21 

Padmanayaks, 25, 27 
Padma Pur ana, 63, 65 
Pagati-Veshamulu, 113 
Paka (Mould), 34 f. 
Pallavas, 21 
Palnati Vlracharitra, 25, 60, 98, 

114 

Panchali Parinaya, 90 
Panchamaha Kavyas, 61, 83 
Panchatantra, 68, 116 
Panditaradhya Charitra, 24, 52 
Panduranga MaMtmya, 83 
Papaiah, Mulugu, 65 



Paparaiu Kamkanti, 54, 114 
Parijatapaharana, 31, 74 
Parthasarathl Sataka, 104 
Peda Rama Matya Poduri, 88 
Peddana, Allasani, 29 ff ., 72 ff ., 76, 

80 

Peddana, Eluganji, 50 
Peddana, Somayagi Kanada, 54, 

89 

Peddana, Vinnakota, 59 
Peddi Bhupati, 29 
Periods of Telugu Literature, 19 
Phuladanda, 118 
Pillalamarri Pinavlrabhadriah, 31, 

61, 66 f., 73 

Pingali Ellanaryudu, 90, 105 f. 
Poet, Life of a, 29-31 
PopularTelugu Literature, 97-101 
Potana, Bammera, 25, 63 f., 93, 

102 f. 
Prabhakara Sastrl, Veturi, 110, 

110 
Prabandha Movement, 26, 48, 

69 ff. 
Prabandha ParameSvara (Title of 

Errapragada), 48 f. 
Prabhavati Pradyumna, 79 f., 

114 

Prabhoda Chandrodaya, 68 
Prabhulinga Li la, 77 
Prakirna Ganita, 50 
Prakrit, relation to Telugu, 16 f., 

21,' 98, 111 
Prakriyakaumudi, 43 
Prataparudra (drama), 115 
Prataparudra I (King), 23, 50-53, 

56 

Prataparudra II, 23 f . 
Prataparudrlya, 83 
Premabhi Ramamu, 66 
Prithivl Raja, 115 
Prose, 93, 100, 116 
Puranas, 14, 32, 51, 63, 114, etc. 
Purushartha Sudha Nidhi, 67 
Purushottam, Choudary, 106 

DACHANNA, Komati, 58 

^ Radhika Svantam, 92 f., 95, 

104 
Raghavabhyudyaya, 43, 54 



130 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 



Raghava Kavi, Nelluri, 88 
Raghava Pdndavlya, 58, 78 
Raghava Yddava Pdndaviya, 

88 

Rajaditya, 50 

Raja Raghava Tondaman, 93 
Raja Raja Narendra, 22, 42, 45, 

48, 69, 95 

Raja Sekhara Charitra,l 
Raja Sekhara Vildsa, 90 
Raja Vdhana Vijaya, 90 
Raja Yogasdra, 104 
Ramabhadriah, Ayyala Raju, 30, 

_54, 72, 103 

Ramabhadrakavi, Sumati, 93 
Ramabhut, Jayanti, 46 
Rdmabhyudaya, 76 
Ramakavi Turaga, 84 
RdmakrishndrjunaNdrdyamya , 

88 

Ramakrishna Kavulu, 118 
Ramakrishna, Mr. M., 52 
Ramakrishna, Tenali, 26, 32, 72, 

83 

Ramakrishniah, Manavalli, 110 
Ramamurti, Gidugu, 111 
Ramanna, Muddi Raju, 78 
Ramaraja Bhushana, 26, 72, 75, 

78, 80 ff. 

Rama Vilasa, 90 
Rdmdyana, 14, 20, 32, 41, etc. ; 

Translations of Bhaskara's, 

24, etc. ; Bhima Kavi's, 54 ; 

Molla's, 54 ; Ranganatha's, 54, 

98 ; Timmanna's, 54, 89 
Ramiah Jayanti, 111 
Ramireddj, D., 117 
Rangacharlu, Paravastu, 114 
Ranga Kaumudi, 90, 114 
Ranganatha, 43, 54 f., 57 
Rangara Chandamu, 92 
Rangardya Charitra, 27 
Rao, Madapati Hanumanta, 118 
Rao, Raja M. Bhujanga, 106 
Rao Singhama, 64 
Rao, T. Rajagopala, 110 
Rasabharana, 65 
Rasamanjari, 71 
Rasayana, Kavikarna, 76 
Rasika Janobhirdma, 88 



Ratnamba, 104 

Ratna Sdstra, 68 

Ratnavali, 114 

Ravana Dommiyamu (Lanka 
Vijaya), 90, 116 

Reddi Bhdrata, 25 

Reddis, Reddi Dynasty, 24 f . 

Reddy, C. R., 5-8, 111 

Religious background of Tekigu 
Literature, 27 f. 

Renaissance of Telugu Literature, 
19, 108-19 

Research, Modern literary, 108 ff . 

Romesh Chandra Dutt (transla- 
tions from), 116 

Roshanara, 115 

Row, B. Sheshagiri, 111 

Rudrakavi, Kamsali, 84 

Rukmangada Charitra, 68 

Rukmani Parinaya, 90 

CAHINIMARA, 23, 57 

^ Sdhiti (Newspaper), 119 

Sahiti-Samiti, 117 

Sakala Kathd Sara Sangraha, 

71, 76, 103 

Sakala Nlti Sommatamu, 65 
Sdkshi (Newspaper), 116 
Sakuntald, 114, 122 
Sakuntald-parinaya, 88 
Sdlivdhana Sapta ati, 20, 60 

ambhudasa (Title of Errapra- 

gada), 48 f. 
Sankara, 28, etc. 
Sanskrit, relation to Telugu, 16 ff ., 

38, 44, 62 

Sdrada (Newspaper), 119 
Sdrangadhara, 91 f., 94 f. 
Sarasvati (Newspaper), 119 
Sarva Kdmadd Parinaya, 91 
Sarvesvara Mahdtya, 105 
Sarvesvara Sataka, 99 
Satakanta Rdmayana, 54, 58 
ataka Kavulu, 111 
^ataka Literature, 98 ff . 
Sataka Poets, 110 

ataka of Vemana, 99 
Satire, 116 f. 



INDEX 



131 



Satya Vadhu Prenanamu, 71 
Sdvitrl Charitra, 77 
Sesha Sailesd Li la, 89 
Seventeenth Century Poets, 90 
Short Stories, 118 _ 
Simganna, Erchuri, 65 
Simganna, Madiki, 54, 98 
Simgaracharlu, Marimganti, 89 
Simgiah, Ghanta, 68 
Simhdsana Dvdtrimiska stories, 

118 

Sisam, 40 

Sisupalavadha, 61, 91 
Sivalila Vildsa, 65 
Sivardmdbhyudaya, 88 
Sivardtri Mahdtya, 60 
Sixteenth Century Poets, 69-90 
Skanda Purdna, 14 
Slesha, 70, etc._ 
Somanatha, Palukuriki, 24, 51, 

60, 98 f. 

Somanatha, Piduparti, 52, 77 
Somasekhara Kavi, Oruganti, 88 
Sources of Telugu Literature, 18 
Southern School of Telugu Litera- 

ture, 86, 91 ff . 
Sri-Mad Bhagavata, 62 
Srinatha, 20, 25, 29 ff., 49, 59-62, 

* 73 

Sringara Dipika, 60 

S*rmgara Naishadha, 59 
Sringara Rasa, 94, 100 
Sringara Sdkuntala, 66, 122 
Srirama Murti, Guruzada, 110 
Srirama Pantulu, 65 
Srirama Sataka, 91 

Sriranga Mahatya, 66, 92 
Subba Rao, K., 115 
Subba Rao, N., 117 
Subba Rao, Rayaprolu, 117 
Subba Rao, Vanguri, Pref., 110 f. 
Subbarayudu, Veddadi, 114 
Subhadramma, 104 
Subhashita Ratndvali, 90 

Subramanya Sastri, Sripada, 118 
SukaSaptati, 95, 118 



Sukra Nlti, 51 

Sumati Sataka, 23, 56 
Sura Kavi Adidamu, 88, 90 
Suranna Nutanakavi, 99 
Suranna, Pingali, 26, 36, 72" 

_77-80, 85, 114 
Suranna, Vennela Kanti, 68 
Suryaprakasa Kavi, 88 
Surya-Rdya Nigantu, 113 
Sutra Ganita, 50 
Suvarna Rekha Kathdvali, 118 
Svarochisha Manucharitra t T2 f.. 
Syama Kavi, 92 

"TAMIL influence on Telugu, 52 
* Tapatlsamvarana, 84 
Tardsasanka Taruvoja, 40, 92, 95 
Tatachari, 83 

Telaganarya, Ponnikanti, 84 
Telugu Language, 13 f., Poetry, 

Pure, 89 ; Script, 17 f. 
Tenali Ramakrishna, 26, 32, 72, 

83 ' 
Tenkanamatya (Title of Nanne- 

chodu), 52 

Thirteenth Century Poets, 53 ff . 
Thomas, St., Life of (in Telugu), 

105 

Tikkanna,18,23_,29,34 f.,44-48,54 
Timmanna Kuchimanchi, 54,. 

88 ff. 

Timmanna, Nandi, 31, 72, 74 f. 
Timmanna Sarungu, 84 
Tippanna Ravipati, 59, 65 
Tirupati Venkates"vara Kavtilu, 

65, 118 
Tobhya Charitra (SarveSvara 

Sataka), 90, 105 
Tragedies, 115 
Translation of the Epics, 41-68 

Trilinga Sabddnusdsana, 55 
Trilinga Stories, 118 
Tripurantakodaharana, 55 
Twelfth Century Poets, 51 
Twentieth Century Poets, 117 f. 

T TMAKANTA, Akki Raju, 118 
^ Ummar Ali Shah, 107 
Uttara Harivamsa, 50, 59 
Uttara Rdmdyana, 34, 54 f. 9& 



132 A HISTORY OF TELUGU LITERATURE 



\7AGANU asana (Tide of 

v Nanniah) 37, 42 
Vaidikis, Vaidiki Movement, 15, 
22, 37,41,44, 103 

Vaidyanatha, 23 

Vaijayantl Vilasa, 84 

Vallabhdbhyudaya, 60 

Vallabha Matya, 114 
Vallabha, Vinukonda, 66 

Valmiki Charitra, 91 

Valmiki Rdmdyana, 91, 98 

Vardha Purdna, 68, 90 

Vdsavadatta Parinaya, 90 

Vdsishta Rdmdyana, 54, 65 

Vasucharitra, 75, 81 

Vdyu Pur ana, 63 
Veddadi Sebbarayudu, 118 

Vedanta Rasdyana, 90, 105 

Vedanta Sara, 93 
Vemalavada Bhima Kavi, 58 
Vemana, 99 

Vemana Sataka, 56, 99 

Vengi Dea, and Vengl Nadu, 14, 

24,26 

Venkamma, Tarikonda, 104 
Venkatachala Mahatya, 104 
Venkatacharlu, Mada Bhashi, 91 
Venkatadasa Kavi, Gudaru, 89 
Venkata Kavi, Chamakura, 88, 91 
Venkata Kavi, Ganapavarapu, 89 
Venkata Kavi, Gopinatha, 91 
Venkata Krishnappa Nayak, 

Samukha, 92 
Venkatanatha, 68 
Venkatanaryudu, Nudurupati, 93 
Venkatapati, Paidimarri, 90 
Venkatapati Sesham, 92 
Venkataramana Sataka, 104 
Venkataratnam, Kokkonda, 114 

Venkata Raya Sastri, Vedam, 

112 f., 114 f. 
Venl Samhdra, 114 



Venki Songs, 117 

Vldhindtaka (of Srinatha), 60, 

66 
Vldhinatakamu (Daylight 

Plays),' 113 

Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha, 92 
Vijaya Sena, 46 
Vijaya Vilasa, 88 
Vijndna Chandrika Series, 113 
Vijnanegvara, 56 
Vikramarka Charitra, 65 
Vikramasena, 59 
Vikrama Urvaslya, 114 
Vinnakota Peddana, 59 
Vinnapamulu (petitions), 100 
Viprandrdyana Charitra, 84 
VIrabhadrakavi, Ay> 7 agari, 88 
VIrabhadranna, Vakkalanda, 90 
Vlrabhadra Rao, C., 113 
Vlrabhadra Vijaya, 64 
Viracharya, 50 
Viramahesvara, 65 
VIresalingam, K., 106 S 110, 113, 

114 f. 

Virata Parva, 48 
Vishnu Bhdgavata, 65 
Vishnu Chittlya, 26, 35, 70 
Vishnu Maya Vilasa, 90, 114 
Vishnu Purdna, 63, 68, 92 
Vrishddipa Sataka, 99 

\Y7ARANGAL, 23, 114 
W Western Culture, influence 

of, on Telugu Literature, 

108 ff., 113 
Women Poets, 102 ff. 

TJADAVA Rdghava Pdnda- 

vlya, 88 

Yagvi, Tikkanna, 44 ff. 
Yajnavalkya's Smriti, 56 
Yati and Prasa, 40,' 98 
Ydydti Charitra, 84, 89 



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